Flexible working. A hot topic at the moment that everyone is talking about. Me especially as I gave up my career to pursue a role that would offer greater flexibility that would work around my child. I recently made the transition from a senior project manager in advertising to start training with Digital Mums to become a social media manager that would allow me to work from home and around my childcare requirements.
That’s why I’m a supporter of all businesses shifting their focus towards flexible working. As a parent (mum or dad) who has a childcare requirement it’s simply not possibly to be “bums on seats” from 8am until 6pm as we once were before having children. There is a need to be a home to look after your children, to do the nursery pick up and drop off, to be available should your child not be able to attend nursery (for whatever reason illnesses happen be that chicken pox, flu, hand foot and mouth etc), and lastly to be “present” in their lives.
We currently know that:
7 in 10 UK employees (and 8 in 10 millennials) would like to have flexible working hours but only 12% have asked for it
Over half (51%) of UK employees think asking for flexible working hours would be viewed negatively by their employer
This fear factor is most significant amongst millennials, with two-fifths (40%) saying they’d be too nervous or worried to ask for flexible working hours
Despite 68% of UK employees still not having access to flexible working, 6 in 10 (61%) UK workers said they would be more productive if they could work flexibly
Over two thirds (67%) said they would be more loyal to a business.
Significantly, 75% of 18-24 year olds not working are more likely to apply for a job with flexible hours over a standard job
The statistics are huge and fairly alarming. Digital Mums have got the right idea with their new Clean Up The F Word campaign that has launched for #WorkThatWorks and in time for #WorkLifeWeek. They are empowering women to return to the workforce, and to give them the confidence that they can still have a career that fits around their childcare and their children, and more importantly to ask for flexibility.
Being a Mum does not mean the end of your career, in fact it sparks just the beginning. You’re more productive especially when you need to be out the door at 5pm every day, you’re multi-skilled and can juggle many balls at once, and lastly you’re committed. Do not ever feel guilty about needing to leave earlier than the rest of your colleagues, instead focus on what value you can add to the business.
There really is no point in being unhappy in your job, and wanting flexibility but being afraid to ask for it. If your company really does value you as an employee and person then they “should” listen to what you want, how you can make your role work flexibly and support you in doing that.
So don’t be afraid. If you’re wanting more flexibility in your role, go on and ask for it, and help to clean up the f*** word. Do it today.
Have you asked for flexibility? What was the outcome? I hope that you came out a winner.
P.S If I didn’t believe or have the opportunity for flexible working I wouldn’t be messing about on my daughter’s balance bike in the garden on a Friday afternoon. I would swap the office any day for this.