Here I welcome, John Ellmore, Director, KnowYourMoney.co.uk to share the benefits I personally know well, on flexible working for parents.
This is not a paid post.
Over to John.
Working to your own schedule, from the comfort of your own home (or perhaps a location that offers greater tranquillity), might seem too good to be true but this is slowly becoming a reality for many of the UK’s workers according to the CIPD with more than half (54%) already working flexibly in some way.
It seems to be parents who are really reaping the benefits of this new world of flexible working as it’s no secret that juggling caring duties and a busy working life is no easy feat. Flexible working allows you to set your own daily agenda and find a healthier work-life balance with it.
Before we delve into the practicalities of flexible working, what exactly does this term mean in the context of parenting?
What is flexible working?
Flexible working means different things to different people. For some, it might mean starting and finishing work a little later so they’re able to do the morning school-run. For others, it might mean working at home one or two times a week when their children are not at daycare.
Since 2014, employees have had the right to request flexible working which means that they can seek changes to the hours and days they work. And there is clearly strong demand for arrangements that stray from traditional 9 to 5 office-based practices, a trend that was highlighted in recent research from Know Your Money.
Having surveyed more than 2,000 UK adults in full-time or part-time work, Know Your Money uncovered the importance professionals place on flexible working conditions. The survey showed that three quarters (75%) of UK workers are in favour of a four-day working week, even if that means still working the same number of hours as a five-day week. Even more telling was the fact that almost half (49%) of the respondents said they would be in favour of a four-day working week if they had to take a pay reduction of 20%.
Why should parents consider flexible working?
The benefits on offer from flexible working are too many to list however there are a few common advantages that spring to mind. For one, there’s a massive potential to save precious time that can instead be directed towards parenting duties – whether that’s by starting later and missing the morning rush hour or working from home and avoiding the commute altogether. What’s more, working from home, or at least being able to shift your working pattern, also presents the added bonus of reducing childcare costs.
Most importantly though, flexible arrangements allow parents to develop a healthier work-life balance, give working parents more time to spend with their children. Additionally, it offers them an opportunity to unwind and enjoy some well-deserved ‘me time’ that would otherwise be lost to commuting.
How to embrace flexible working
More and more businesses are becoming responsive to shifting employee demands and offer greater freedom to choose the hours they work and the location they work from – as long as it does not impact overall productivity levels. Those seeking such arrangements are thus encouraged to have a conversation with their manager about their personal commitments and suggest practical arrangements that work for both themselves and the company. This will help clarify when, where and how daily tasks will be completed, thereby alleviating any concerns that the adjusted working pattern might hinder productivity.
Beyond this, working parents should be utilising smartphones, tablets and laptops so they can conduct their day-to-day tasks remotely and during flexible hours. The advent of valuable software solutions and platforms like Zoom are also vital in ensuring that employees are able to execute tasks efficiently, securely access shared files and generally stay connected to their workplace without being physically present in the office.
Skype or Slack are now readily available and accessible to support regular communications between employees which ensures that collaboration and discussions can continue to take place wherever you are. It’s paramount that working individuals educate themselves on the evolving tech trends so as to keep up with new solutions that will support their professional lives.
The job market is clearly undergoing a rapid shift and the traditional working model is quickly becoming outdated. This is good news for parents who face the added pressure of carrying out childcare responsibilities on top of their professional commitments and who want to spend more time with their children and can’t due to inflexible work.
Will you be requesting flexible hours from HR or starting your own business on your own terms?
Read Vicki’s bestselling book MUMBOSS for tips on the latter.