As the summer holiday season comes to an end, it is now one long haul at work until the Christmas break.
This time of year makes staff reassess their working lives and consider whether they have got the balance right between their jobs and their lives outside work. How can they earn a decent living, rise up the career ladder and have more time to spend with the family or doing leisure pursuits?
As autumn beckons, the Whitehall and Westminster machine is slowly getting back into gear and the lobbyists are equally hard at work trying to influence the employment policy agenda and flag up their specific interests.
The Industrial Society, which hasn't stopped churning out its huge volume of reports over the summer, has published a survey of more than 500 HR professionals on the issue of flexible working (News, p1 & Comment, p21).
There is no doubt that both this and the whole work-life balance debate are hot political topics - the party conference season will see some policy announcements and the Work and Parents Task Force led by Professor Sir George Bain is due to report back in November.
The Industrial Society research is encouraging in that it shows that many employers are offering more flexibility at work - nine out of 10, in fact. But this is on a very informal basis. It is startling that over two-thirds of HR specialists questioned do not have written or formal policies on flexible working in their organisations.
HR managers should grasp the nettle and try to formalise flexible working arrangements that exist in their organisations. This will help retain staff, be fair and transparent and allow for more innovative approaches rather than just having a definition of flexible working as 8am to 4pm instead of 9am to 5pm.