Speaker Spotlight: ‘The Flex Revolution: Why you can’t afford to not be flexible’ with Sophie Aspden

With news that the UK Government plans to promote flexible working by giving employees the right to ask for flexible working from the first day of a new job, we can finally breathe a breath of relief that legislation is (finally) catching up.

But is a company that forces you to submit a formal request likely to have a culture that supports genuine flexibility? With true flexible working being less about legislative tick boxes and more of a modern-day must for employers wanting to create a culture of belonging, inclusion and high-performance, it’s time we had a conversation about what it takes to be truly flexible.

At People & Culture Club’s February meetup, host Ally Jones was joined by Sophie Aspden (People Lead at Planes) where they discussed:

  • What flexible working looks like beyond the legislation
  • How to foster a culture that encourages flexible working
  • What they think of everything from unlimited holiday to “Pawternity” leave
  • What flexible working looks like at Planes

You can check out Sophie’s talk on our YouTube channel here.

Hey Sophie, can you tell us a bit about you and the work that you do…

I’m the People Lead at Planes and I cares about creating an equitable workplace where everyone feels like they can bring their best selves to work. I love learning about how enabling people to have more choice within the workspace improves psychological safety and helps build trust.

What was the inspiration for your recent talk?

Allowing people to have more choice within their day is a huge topic; it improves trust, attrition and relationships.

Any key highlights / takeaways for anyone who missed it?

Understand peoples preferences and always ask the team what their needs are.

Did you come up through a “traditional” techie route or has your career taken twists and turns along the way?

I studied Bio Anthropology and have always been in people-ish roles.

Is there a moment that helped define your career?

Joining Planes and having the autonomy to design the people function.

What piece of advice would you give your younger self?

Everyones always still learning, it’s not a race.

What’s your big tech prediction for 2023?

Working week reductions or changes.

Silicon Brighton wouldn’t be here without people like you giving back to the community so… what does the word community mean to you?

A group of supportive people who you can learn and share with.


Missed Sophie’s talk or want to watch it again? Check it out here…