Teachers want flexible working hours – and lockdown proves it can work

Untitled design 73 | Teachers want flexible working hours – and lockdown proves it can work
By Toby Lester | 15th July 2020 | 8 min read

How could flexible working possibly be suitable for the education sector? Schools need reliable teachers on the frontline and in classrooms. The idea of a flexible teacher workday is unthinkable.

And yet, in this post-lockdown society, we’ve already proven that it’s possible.

Teaching has changed forever

Whether or not we’ve wanted to, we’ve all been forced to work flexibly and remotely for weeks. We’ve already proved that flexible working is not only possible, but it’s essential to attract the best talent to the teaching profession.

There’s no suggestion that remote teaching could be substituted for a robust in-person classroom education; however, there’s definitely room to help teachers manage their busy schedules. Modern technology can help schools to strike a balance between getting teachers into classrooms and providing them with flexible hours.

Schools have to adapt to remain competitive

One in twelve teachers want to reduce their working hours by more than a day a week – and that’s just the staff that are already in the profession. What will our pre-QTS trainees expect for their working hours?

In the coming months and years, flexible working will have a dramatic effect on teacher supply and demand and will change teachers’ expectations. It stands to change the sector for the better.

By offering prospective teachers a better work-life balance, the sector can attract and retain a wider pool of talent. Young parents and those who need a flexible work option have long been unfairly excluded from the teaching profession. Schools that offer flexible working can now tap into this new pool of unexplored talent.

Eventually, as more and more schools move over to flexible working models, it will become absolutely essential to offer flexible working opportunities. Otherwise, trusts can expect to lose out to other schools that are willing to offer their employees the perks they’re looking for.

How to make it work

We’ve established that flexible working is only going to grow in importance – but how can schools implement it?

Technology is the solution. In the past, it’s not been possible to offer flexible working hours because of the enormous administrative burden this has posed. However, nowadays this is much easier to manage.

It’s now possible to automate HR workflows so they manage themselves. Technology can make it simple to organise otherwise complicated timetabling that enables flexible hours and wider teams. The advent of self-service HR solutions such as PS People can also ease the burden on already stretched HR teams.

If you’re interested in finding out more about flexible teaching hours and holding on to your best talent, you’ll want to download our free insight guide, Modern approaches to teacher retention. You’ll explore the reasons that teachers leave schools, the real cost of losing employees and the value of offering greater perks to teachers.