workingwise.co.uk talks to Neil Jolly about how flexible working means he doesn’t need to take early retirement.
Workingwise.co.uk’s annual survey was published last week and shows that a high number of those polled want more work life balance and flexible working. Neil Jolly is a telecoms worker who says that because his employer is very supportive of his wellbeing and encourages flexible working he is unlikely to take early retirement.
I am employed full time as a telecoms engineer and tester working mainly on overseas telecoms support. I was working in an office, but during Covid I worked from home and recently I was officially designated a home worker, but two days later I fractured my hip after falling and am currently undergoing physio after an operation. I have been told it will be three weeks until I am back home, but I am aiming for two.
I have a disability and this has affected me more in the last two years. My employer has recognised that and made me a home worker. On a good day I could travel to work in 30 minutes, but parking and unloading my mobility scooter took another half hour. My disability also means I suffer from fatigue and get very tired very quickly. By 4pm I can be running on half empty. Working from home makes things much easier. I can manage things so I don’t get tired too quickly as I know my own limits. My boss is very good, though, and said that being a home worker doesn’t mean I can’t come back to the office if I want to. I have worked from home before when I was with another employer and I do get a bit bored looking at the same room every day so it it is good to break it up now and again for my own wellbeing. I also have a nine year old daughter too and it is good to be around more to see her.
Before I was allowed to work from home I was thinking of taking early retirement. I got made redundant four years ago when I was 48. I was lucky that I was in a good financial position and could retire. But the job I was made redundant from was very busy. I found it very difficult to go from a very busy job to retirement. I could not really settle. Then my current employer rang me. I had worked with them in the past on contracts and they offered me a job. I have been lucky in my working life to meet the right people at the right time.
Now I believe I can keep working for many more years. I could talk to my boss too about reducing my hours if I need to or asking for a job share. My employer is very supportive of employees’ wellbeing. They would rather keep people on a part-time basis than lose them. My employer has been really good to me. If the working conditions are right I think more people would stay in work.