What better time to celebrate C&C Search Flex Pledge Campaign than National Work Life Week and World Mental Health Day? Last Thursday, we brought together an inspiring panel of female leaders – hosted by our incredible founder, Lucy Chamberlain – to bring you Let’s Flex!

On our mission to fight the stigma surrounding flexible working, we were proud to start an eye-opening conversation around redefining traditional working patterns and what it means to be a modern and inclusive employer.

We all enjoyed listening to each panellist’s experience of creating a happier workforce thanks to flexi time, and are excited to share them with you.

Vanessa Vallely – International Speaker, Entrepreneur, Author & Founder of WeAreTheCity 

Vanessa pointed out how, while mentoring programmes are rightfully popular, there should be a bigger focus on sponsorships, in the sense of having someone that can open doors of opportunity for you. “It’s about understanding what that role looks like for you,” she explained, “so you’re more willing to put yourself forward for the job.”

She also urged companies to think long-term, as everyone is on a different journey and needs flexibility for many reasons. That’s why she encouraged everyone to always leave with pride: nobody should have to justify why they need flexibility at work!

Steph Douglas – Founder of Don’t Buy Her Flowers & Author of ‘Sisterhood & All That’ Blog 

Steph shared her inspiring way to treat her staff by encouraging flexible working. She stressed that flexibility applies to everyone, not just women, and that she couldn’t care less about where a task was completed. An office? A hairdressing salon? The important thing is that the work gets done and her employees are happy. 

Steph also proved that employees working in a flexible environment are more loyal and dedicated. “Life is for living,” she insisted. “It makes so much sense that if someone is happy, they will go the extra mile for their employers.” No wonder her team voluntarily traipsed through snow on Mother’s Day to get the orders out during a power cut! 

Anna Whitehouse – Founder of Mother Pukka, Sunday Times Bestselling Author, Heart Radio Presenter

Anna talked about her 10 year plan to turn flexible working into the default by law through Mother Pukka’s “Flex for All” campaign. “Flex is not limited to mothers returning to work: it is a people issue. It’s about shining a light on the human behind the employee,” she explained. 

Anna discussed how the Flex movement pre-dates ‘returnships’, as many are not even in a position to return. But – from new parents, to people living with disabilities, to those looking after elderly parents – she insisted that nobody should pretend not to have a life outside of work.

Debra Ward – Founder of Mitie Client Services, International Entrepreneur & Managing Director of Cam & Hooper 

Debra talked about how the terrible stigma around flexible working forces people to stay in the office just to keep up, even when they have the necessity to leave earlier.

She also shared her valuable personal experience to explain why women returning to work after maternity leave often end up undervaluing themselves. “We’re working below our potential because we’re not demanding our potential,” she admitted. But that shouldn’t be the case, as nobody should forget about their existing skill-set as well as their new life skills: they should come back at their potential, if not higher!

Let’s Flex! was an inspiring reminder of how we, as leaders and recruitment agencies, can influence companies to embrace flexible working and understand the benefits of a happy workforce.

If you wish to get involved, take our Flex Pledge or get in touch with sheridan@candcsearch.co.uk.