Impact on working: Productivity, work-life balance, role, and flexible working
Interview excerpt: Although Rachel’s request for reduced hours was agreed, she was put under pressure to return and also to make up hours from attending doctors’ appointments.
So I did ask for a part time, or a reduction in hours. I went down to eighty five percent, which I worked over four days a week. But I was made to feel very guilty about the fact that I wasn't in on Fridays. And it was just this sense that you're not here on Fridays, we really need you here on Fridays. Which I suppose if you look at it, it's kind of flattering that they feel they can't cope without you. But really it wasn't very helpful when I was so poorly. And they were also making me make up time for all of the appointments that I had. I also broke my wrist in this period as well, so there was times when I was seeing my mental health team every ten days because I was so poorly, I was seeing my GP every two or three weeks, I was going up the hospital once a week for physio, and they were making me make back all this time. Which was just impossible.
To be honest, I didn't get much benefit [from] the reduced hours, because I realised very early on that they weren't going to let me do it permanently, and I just spent the whole time worrying about whether I would be well enough to go back and continue. They were very open to trying it for six months. But it felt like from the start that they didn't think it would be sustainable. For example the head of department was asking my line manager to fill out a spreadsheet on the days that I wasn't in the [department], to record tasks that she was doing which I would have done if I'd been in the [department], and the impacts that that had on her own work. Which made me feel terrible.