Looking after the big people (and the little people)
Picture this. A 6am rise, check emails, put kettle on, pat dog, feed dog, shower, dressed, get kids up, get kids showered, dressed, fed and out to school. Commute to work, arrive at work, do full days work, arrive home at 6 if you’re lucky, prepare tea for kids, start homework, finish homework, eat bowl of cereal because too tired to make anything. Put washing on, take washing out, tidy, organise schoolbags/uniforms for next day. Go to bed. Repeat x 5.
That…is the life of a working mum.
So, when you ask a working mum what benefits she might like, she might say something like this:
A dog walker
A great husband
An understanding boss
The traditional 9 – 5 for women is a problem. It’s do-able but at what cost?
That’s a lot of plates to spin for anyone. Nobody is a superhero and yes, women should be able to have it all – to have an enjoyable, challenging, rewarding career and have a family.
Why shouldn’t they? But it’s now only possible to juggle both (and retain a level of sanity) if there’s a degree of flexible working and that’s something that more and more employers are seeing the benefits of offering.
Of course men do it too. The juggle, the flexible working, but it’s predominantly women who have to find a solution to making modern life work; have a successful career, bring up happy well adjusted confident successful children with a full schedule of activities, be the perfect cook, hostess, wife, friend, and occasional Victoria’s Secret Angel.
And make all of that look really, really easy…
There are four answers to the problem:
Working full time but with flexibility around the timing of these hours, either through flexible working time or through a personalised annualised hours contract.
Working reduced hours, for example part-time working (shorter days of fewer days a week), part year working, term-time working or job sharing.
Working either full or reduced hours at home to enable increased flexibility over balancing home and work commitments.
Taking a temporary period off work or a career break to allow parents to care for children of preschool age or older dependent relatives with the guarantee of a suitable job at the end of the period.
Benefits to the employer?
- Holding on to valuable staff
- Increased productivity
- Decreased absence
- Greater motivation
- Company seen as a caring employer – increases employer brand value
- Lets employees grow within the company – increased loyalty
- Avoiding lady having meltdown at desk when it all gets too much
Benefits to the employee?
- Ability to juggle more effectively
- Reduced stress
- Better quality of life
- Increased job satisfaction
- Ability to maintain career development and bring up a family
- Ability to balance life and work commitments with stage in life
- Being able to hold on to enough of a thread of sanity to pull a shopping list together
Taking a progressive approach to working arrangements just works, so why are we in a situation where almost half of mothers believe employers discriminate against working mums.
That’s what the Workingmums.co.uk annual survey found, along with this nugget:
Only one in eight respondents said that employers do not discriminate against working mothers.
And this is the really interesting bit so take notice HR folks – almost 58% of working mums said flexible working was the most important factor for their career progression, up from 52% last year.
Of course there are some jobs where it is challenging to find a flexible working solution, but in most cases it’s down to a bit of creative thinking on how to make work culture more family friendly, retain skilled employees and grow an employer brand which attracts great people.
Flexible working creates better employees, more motivated employees with greater passion for their jobs. Probably the biggest, most important question you can ask mums in the workplace is this:
“What can we do to give you the work/life balance you need and help you build your career with us?”
To view the UK’s most family friendly companies, click here.
Are you one of them? Could you be one of them?