You may still enjoy your leisure job but are finding it hard to make your job fit into your life. If your life has changed in a major way because of children, caring responsibilities, or changing health you may need to rethink your work-life balance.
Whether you need more predictable hours, or just want to work less weekends, speak to your boss. If they refuse to accommodate your needs, then maybe it’s time to start looking for someone who will.
Some jobs in leisure can’t be done at sociable hours, but the skills you have learnt as a leisure assistant, lifeguard, or therapist can help you transfer to a more family-friendly schedule. Or maybe a job in the evenings and weekends is what you need to fit in around something such as studying. Either way, changing jobs to get better hours to suit you is a common reason for leisure professionals to consider a move.
All employees have the right to request flexible working, not just those with children or other caring responsibilities. Your employer is obligated to deal with your request in a ‘reasonable manner’, and has every right to turn down the application for flexible working if they have a good business reason for doing so. You must have been working for the employer for 26 weeks before you can make an application and can only make one application every 12 months.
Flexible working can include part-time working rather than full-time, working from home when possible, job-sharing, or flexitime. These types of working may be a burden on the business and create extra costs or require staff reorganisation but employers have to give them serious consideration.
There is more information on flexible working at https://www.gov.uk/flexible-working
What employers can do
Losing experienced staff is a blow to any business, but for those businesses that are built on human interaction losing a skilled pair of hands can affect customer satisfaction and result in reduced custom. Losing a skilled beauty therapist to a competitor for example, means you’re not only losing the staff member but also any loyal customers they take with them. Losing a member of staff can make all your training and development efforts seem like a waste of time and money, not to mention the cost of having to recruit (and train and develop all over again) a replacement.
If an employee approaches you with a request for flexible working then it can be a sign that their current working arrangements are not suiting them. If you can’t or won’t consider their requests for a change in their hours, then there is a good chance that they will go and look for something else more suitable. Often, the employee doesn’t want to leave but commitments outside of work force their hand.
Working with the employee to find a better way forward will keep them with you for longer and reduce the costs that can be associated with staff turnover. You may not be able to accommodate all of their requests, but even meeting them in part can pay dividends.
A member of staff may be wanting more family-friendly hours to fit in around school. They might want to work less weekends and make the time up during the week. This is fine if your weekly demand isn’t lower than on weekends, but for many leisure jobs this isn’t the case, and there may not be enough work to do on weekdays to make this a viable option for you as a business. Rather than saying no, how about a compromise where the staff member simply reduces their hours so they don’t have to do regular weekends? This would be better than losing the staff member altogether, and you still have them on board to do the odd weekend when you are especially busy. Or maybe you can find them things to do during the week which uses their skills and knowledge to benefit your business in other ways, such as carrying out marketing and promotional work, or helping to train newer employees.
How you accommodate employees wanting to work more flexibly is up to you and how it fits in with your business, however you do have an obligation to take requests seriously, and being able to accommodate an experienced and otherwise committed employee can do wonders for morale and staff loyalty.
What you can do if your employer says no
If your employer has seriously considered your request and genuinely cannot accommodate it due to the demands of your particular job, then you can do many things.
First of all, can you make changes in your personal life which makes your working life more feasible? Is there anyone who can help with caring responsibilities more often, or even someone you can pay to do what you need to do back home? It can be that you can earn more in the time than you pay someone else to do essential domestic or caring tasks.
Consider re-training in a related job that will have different demand on your hours. Ask your colleagues who seem to have more family-friendly hours how they got their job and see if it could be a viable option for you. For example, we have seen beauty therapists take post 16 teaching qualifications and land jobs as college tutors. Not only do these jobs tend to be weekdays only, but they can often be better paid too.
Lastly, you could just shop around for a more understanding employer with a better flexible working policy. With flexible working policies being a big draw for more experienced staff who are sometimes willing to sacrifice high pay for better working hours, more and more companies are jumping on board with flexible working.
Better hours in leisure jobs
Working sociable hours in leisure jobs may seem sometimes to be a pipe dream, but if you find your work-life balance is tipping over the edge, then talking about your concerns with your employer should be your first step.
Get in touch with us if you need a leisure job that fits in with your life.