Jamie Oliver is well-known as a chef through a variety of TV programmes including, 'The Naked Chef' and 'Jamie's Italy'. He is also a best-selling author and entrepreneur, having set up a chain of restaurants which give disadvantaged young people the opportunity to train and build a career within the catering industry. Jamie's other achievements include being national campaigner for a host of food and farming related issues such as 'Jamie saves our bacon' calling for the better treatment of pigs, as well as teaching people to cook. Jamie Oliver is a one-man multimedia industry and a brand. (The Times 29/06/2009)
A varied and high-profile career can come at a price. Being involved in so much does mean sacrifices on personal time. As individuals, it is important to assess our work-life balance. Some businesses such as Lloyds TSB and the Audit Commission have adopted approaches to flexible working to achieve this.
Lloyds TSB carried out research with employees to find out about their commitments and leisure activities to enable the business to devise a plan of working options. The aim of this was to create flexible working patterns for its employees to fit with their personal needs and those of the business. This in turn helps to reduce absenteeism as employees are able to balance their family commitments. Alternative working patterns motivate staff giving them a sense of belonging and reducing staff turnover. The business benefits because it has a contented workforce who want to work for and stay with the business.
In contrast the Audit Commission created flexible working patterns due to its changing employment needs. As an independent body it inspects and audits a number of public sector services which can generate varying amounts of work. It offers different patterns of employment such as permanent, contract and fixed term posts and the option of homeworking. These provide flexible solutions to both business needs and those of its employees.