London South East Colleges is promising specialists in English and STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and maths) a compressed 37-hour working week to tempt candidates wanting a better work-life balance post-pandemic.
Timetables will be arranged so that staff in these subject can have one day off a week. The college, which has 12,000 students on eight campuses in Bromley, Bexley and Greenwich, will then look at extending flexible working to the whole workforce, including introducing home-based and hybrid roles.
It comes after Boris Johnson made a renewed call for workers to return to the office, saying people can be distracted by making coffee and eating cheese when working at home.
Plans to give everyone the right to ask bosses for flexible working were missing from the Queen’s Speech and Jacob Rees-Mogg, the minister for government efficiency has criticised the civil service for staff continuing to work from home. Asfa Solail, principal of London South East Colleges, said: “We must support people’s changing lifestyle needs while meeting the needs of our business and, ultimately, our students and communities.”
She added: “By introducing the option of a compressed four-day week we hope to increase the number of potential candidates and secure the talent we need to continue delivering high-quality maths, English and STEM teaching. We are committed to the mental health and well-being of all staff. Work-life balance and managing workload are a huge part of this — so we hope that offering a four-day working week will be an attractive option.”
Sam Parrett, chief executive of London South East Colleges, said recruiting specialist teachers in English and STEM subjects had become a “widespread challenge” for colleges across London.
Candidates for lecturer posts in English and STEM subjects will be able to choose their day off and part-time roles will also be available.