Flex Appeal

The veterinary industry is currently facing a multifactorial recruitment and retention crisis. With hangovers from pandemic working, a reduction in the number of european vets due to Brexit and a gradual increase in the number of practising veterinary professionals leaving clinical practice, the skilled veterinary workforce is becoming thin on the ground. The impact of which is palpable in every aspect of veterinary practice. 


We hear the phrases “work life balance” and “flexible working” on a daily basis, but what does it mean? Well the truth is, flexible working means something different to everybody. Flexible working is about curating a way of working productively, that is sustainable for you, for your colleagues and for the business. Whilst allowing time to do the things that make you, you. 


Flexibility in the way we work is essential to improve work life satisfaction and restore balance . A recent BVA survey 44% of vets stated that they would like to work more flexibly and the most common reason given by those leaving the profession was work life balance (RCVS, 2021). It’s a common misconception that flexible working is only for those with families. The most common reason given for requesting flexible working was leisure activities, with lifestyle needs a close second and caregiving responsibilities and health reasons coming in joint third. (BVA, 2021). But whether your request is due to neurodiversity or netball, menopause or mental health, each and every reason is valid and must be met by your employer with the same level of consideration.


Long working hours and lack of breaks negatively impact practice culture, productivity, mental and physical wellbeing and staff retention. That’s a pretty hefty list of down sides. It’s also been shown that longer hours do not necessarily equate to success and that they can set an unsustainable “stay late” culture. In fact, a world wide pilot study found that a 4 day week improved productivity, improved mental health and reduced burn out. Out of the 56 companies that tried the 32 hour week, 92% of them are continuing with it. The number of staff leaving during the trial dropped by 57% and the organisations reported a revenue increase of 35% compared to the same period from previous years. 


With recruiting and onboarding a new member of staff costs an estimated at a whopping £15,000 per staff member, you are in a really strong negotiating position.

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