I think flexible working is the new way forward and for us and our market, it is the only way forward. Now is the time for employers to be brave, to seize the opportunity and embrace the future model of working. Flexible working is not just about a better work/life balance, but about making us all - employees and businesses alike - more effective.
It was, in coffee shops of all sizes and variants, that our imaginations seemed to really come alive, thrown into greater relief by dint of the creative environment we inhabited. They were places of leisure, places of conversation - places of work, I noted, watching heads bent studiously over textbooks or poring over sketchbooks.
Much as City firms have benefited significantly from developing innovative flexible working schemes to attract and retain talented staff, it strikes me that a solution that could go a long way in addressing GP recruitment issues is actually to encourage more flexible working, for both sexes, not to try and restrict it.
It's a well known fact we live in a 24/7 consumer culture. The rise of technology means that almost every aspect of our life has an expectation of immediacy, from our 24 hour news culture, to shops extending their opening hours, to smart phones giving us access to a wealth of information anywhere, at any time.
From the 30th June 2014 every employee was given the statutory right to request flexible working after 26 weeks of employment service. Before this, the right only applied to parents of children under the age of 17 (or 18 if the child was disabled) and certain carers. This flexibility has offered more of us the chance to work from home, and avoid the daily commute.
Successful change requires trust. If you can prove to your boss that flexi-working will enable you to be equally, if not more productive, then not only is it possible to have her support you in a new way of working, but you can also inspire others to follow your lead and become a catalyst for much-needed corporate change.
Businesses that refuse reasonable flexible working time requests from loyal employees are cutting their own throats; this has always been the case, and new laws giving all workers the right to ask for altered hours change nothing. Any employer with half a brain will treat such a request the same this week as they would any time in the past. To do anything else would be idiocy - it's just common sense.
Lack of support can leave women "faced with the feeling like they're not enough at either home or work" and prone to dropping out, says Chivers. "These are women who know they can deliver great things at work and raise happy, normal kids if only their and their partners' employers would trust them enough to crack on in flexible fashion."