Building a better balance

The CSP’s ‘Building a better balance’ toolkit aims to raise awareness about flexible working. Find out how alternative working patterns can work well for staff, employers and patients alike.


If you're a CSP representative,  log in and go to our Learning Hub to find a range of eBites to support your development as a CSP Steward and/or Safety Rep, including a specific one on returning to work after maternity leave

Flexible working

Achieving a good and productive work life balance is vital for all our members.  7 in 10 are women and the majority are below age 40. This means that many have primary childcare responsibilities that they need to fulfil alongside their working lives.

In addition to this, there are many other reasons why people may need to work flexibly. Some may be taking care of elderly or sick relatives while increasingly men want to take a greater role in childcare. Others might have a long term health condition or disability requiring reduced working hours.

Organisations that promote flexible working find that it aids recruitment and retention. It improves productivity, reduces stress, and makes staff feel valued and motivated.  It is not only good for employees and employers but also good for patients and quality of care. It can seem daunting to run a service where many staff work flexibly but the long term benefits it brings can far outweigh the initial effort involved.

However, members continue to lack opportunities to work flexibly in their roles.  Polling of CSP members conducted in 2021 found that:

  • of those members that worked in the previous year, 27per cent did home working for at least some of their working pattern, including those that had done so involuntarily as a result of the Covid19 pandemic.  However, when asked to consider their future career, 42 per cent indicated they would want to do at least some of their work from home.
  • 4 per cent of members had worked compressed hours - including seasonal working or average hours working patterns - over the previous year, whereas 16 per cent indicated they would like to in their future careers.
  • less than 1 per cent of members had done term-time working arrangements over the previous year, whereas 8 per cent indicated they would like to in the future.

Use the resources below to find out more about your rights to flexible working. Managers who are responsible for processing requests for flexible working will also find them useful.

The resource has been updated to reflect changes to the contractual NHS Terms and Conditions Handbook introduced September 2021.  The Handbook covers NHS staff in England and Wales, with similar initiatives expected in Scotland and Northern Ireland.  Find out more.

Your local CSP steward is available to help. If you don’t have steward - or don’t know who they are - contact the CSP Enquiries Team on 020 7306 6666 or

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