Mary Lou Costa is a business reporter.

Afsaneh Parvizi-WayneImage source, Afsaneh Parvizi-Wayne
Image caption, Afsaneh Parvizi-Wayne works through the Summer bank holiday so that she can take time off during Persian New Year

Persian New Year, which falls in March, is an event that Afsaneh Parvizi-Wayne and her family look forward to every year.

It was an easy decision to allow her team to swap bank holidays to a time of their choosing, on top of the 29 days holiday already on offer, when she founded Freda.

"You don't have to do the same thing over and over again," says the London-basedentrepreneur.

I work the job at hand. People can do their work wherever they want, as long as it gets done within an agreed time frame.

It's easier to not comply with official bank holidays, as it allows for a more flexible working pattern, and everyone doesn't disappear together, apart from Christmas and New Year.

The arrangement is working well so far because team members simply enter their time off into a spreadsheet.

Ms Parvizi-Wayne works during the summer so that she can enjoy Persian New Year.

A common custom in Europe and Latin America is for her assistant to work over the summer bank holiday. In order to celebrate Carnival in her native Brazil, she sacrificed the Platinum Jubilee bank holiday.

Freda's "choose your own bank holiday" policy isn't just the preserve of the start-up world, nor are Ms Parvizi-Wayne and her team alone in wanting their holiday schedules to reflect their own priorities.

Laura MallinsonImage source, Laura Mallinson
Image caption, Laura Mallinson has swapped some bank holidays so that she can take a break at the same time as her teacher husband

In a survey of 2,320 Britons conducted in July by a mobile advertising platform, about 45% of respondents already had the option to change their bank holidays.

Seeker Digital has had this policy since it was founded in 2016 on top of its holiday allowance. It didn't make sense for him to tell employees when to use their holidays.

Our work is not about dying or living. If required, there is nothing that can be changed. Mr Simpson says that they set the boundaries with clients and explain how the policies help them.

For Laura Mallinson, a digital PR strategist at Seeker Digital, it means she can better align holidays with her husband, as opposed to having to work most of the time when he is off. Ms Mallinson was able to extend her thanks to working through the early May and Easter bank holidays after they returned from Greece.

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For her colleague Beant Bajwa, who is a search engine Optimisation specialist at the agency, it means she and her husband can be more educated about school holiday care.

It's a problem for many parents. More than 27,000 parents were surveyed by a campaign group about their summer child care plans. One in eight people who used formal childcare expected it to cost more than $2,000.

Ms Bajwa, who has two children, used to use private daycare and nurseries to cover the days they couldn't use their standard holiday allowance for.

Bank holidays help me save money. I can use the extra days during summer holidays if my husband takes care of the kids. It's an extra week so we don't have to worry about babysitters.

Beant BajwaImage source, Beant Bajwa
Image caption, Being able to choose when to take bank holidays means Beant Bajwa saves money on childcare

Some employers are experimenting with changing bank holidays on a case by case basis.

Human Appeal allowed its 170-strong workforce to swap this year's Good Friday and Easter Monday bank holidays to extend their Eid celebrations because 70% of them are Muslim.

The more appealing option was a full week off at the conclusion of Ramadan in May, with two days swapped over from Easter.

Changing the holiday dates meant bigger plans could be made with my family for outings and gatherings that would be impossible to fit in time.

The whole team has a lot of responsibilities during the holy month. Being able to extend the holiday made sense to everyone.

Human Appeal will consider repeating the swap if the UK public holidays coincide with the Muslim holy month of Ramadan again.

Ahmed OsmanImage source, Ahmed Osman
Image caption, Working over Easter meant Ahmed Osman could extend his Eid celebrations

Two-thirds of UK workers think work-life balance is the most important aspect of a job, according to a survey.

According to Allison English, the deputy chief executive of employee experience consultancy Leesman, more companies may change their leave policies to include bank holidays.

"Flexible work policies allow more employees than ever to choose where they work, so adding the 'when' dimension naturally stands to boost employee sentiment, because doing so gives people more control over their work - and all humans crave control."

According to our data, only half of our respondents are satisfied with the programmes their organisation offers to promote wellbeing, so flexible bank holidays may stand to improve that score, as well as an employee's overall sense of work-life balance.

Allison EnglishImage source, Allison English
Image caption, Allison English says flexible work policies give people "more control"' over their work

Ms English says that flexible bank holidays won't work for every role.

Managers may end up with more juggling to do when it comes to scheduling leave, and will have to make arrangements if people need to go into an office during a bank holiday.

"There are many variables to consider, like what employees do in their roles, what markets the organisation operates in, and the culture of the organisation, that all factor into whether or not this shift would be successful."

I trust my team and that they're getting the job done, that's what it brings to me. Bank holidays are a great way to show your team how much you care.

Why do you have to follow the same path? Productivity is not equal to the status quo.

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