With a fair few parents among our team, not to mention the number of people we work with who are looking for child-care friendly working options, we’ve got a pretty good idea of the difficulties involved in seeking and maintaining a job when you have a young family.
And there are plenty of research studies to back up the fact that it tends to be mothers, in the main, who come up against these issues. In a recent survey, HR training experts DPG Plc found that a staggering 9/10 women reported that they faced problems when they returned to the workplace after maternity, whether this was due to struggling to find a balance between work and childcare, the cost of childcare or simply guilt about spending too much time away. Whatever the reasons for the issues, DPG found that nearly half (46%) wanted more flexible working, while 26% wanted the ability to work remotely.
Why businesses need to sit up and take notice
The consequences of ignoring these statistics are serious. In the survey above, DPG Plc found that 49% of women reduced their hours after having children, while 19% left their jobs altogether due to the difficulties they found.
Multiply this across all organisations and industries in the country and this represents a huge loss of knowledgeable, experienced employees who would perhaps have been convinced to stay if circumstances had been different, or if they’d been offered a flexible working opportunity to suit them.
What do we mean by flexible working?
We understand that not every business can practically offer the opportunity for staff to work from wherever they want or during whichever hours of the day they wish. And that’s fine. Flexible working can mean different things to different people. It might be regular part-time hours or compressed hours – the same number of hours worked across fewer days, flexi time around core working hours or annualised hours. Or it could be job sharing or remote working from home. In short, there should be ways and means that most organisations can offer a degree of flexibility to their staff.
But why would they want to?
What are the benefits to businesses of providing flexible positions?
Below you’ll find just some of the reasons we believe that as a business you can’t afford not to offer flexibility:
· By sharing your support for flexible working you’ll become instantly more attractive to potential recruits. And you’ll open yourself up to a wider talent pool who simply couldn’t work for you if it weren’t for the possibility of flexible working.
· By offering flexible options you’ll be more likely to increase staff morale and retain your best employees. This means fewer retraining and recruitment costs.
· If you’re more confident about retaining employees, you can be more confident about the ROI of investing time and money in training and skills building.
· Increased staff morale has been linked to a reduction in absence and lateness. It is also great for mental wellness and health.
· You may find benefits in terms of work scheduling or rota building if you have staff willing to work more unusual hours. You may even be able to cut down on overtime bills by extending the hours you’re ‘open for business’.
· Resources such as desks, chairs, parking spaces etc. can potentially be shared if staff are working more flexibly. This could even result in office space cost savings if you were able to offer remote working to some employees.
· Allowing staff to work from their own location may help when they’re expected to concentrate on more detailed work.
· As lives become ever busier, allowing staff the flexibility that allows them to organise their personal lives and balance outside responsibilities with work ones can lead to a reduction in stress and mean employees are more able to focus on work.
· Employers often find that staff who are given more flexibility are in turn prepared to offer more flexibility – whether this is through being prepared to undertake work that is slightly outside their job description or being prepared to further flex their hours to support business needs where possible.
· Opening up flexible work opportunities will increase the diversity of the applications you receive, which can only benefit the mix of employees achieved in your workplace as a whole.
· Flexible working contributes to a positive and inclusive company culture which can lead to an increasingly positive public perception about your business in general.
More than ever, parents of young children are looking to secure roles that allow them the flexibility to work hard, achieve their potential and keep moving up the career ladder while being able to care for and spend quality time with their family too. If you are able to provide a flexible working strategy that can go some way towards supporting this, you’ll be head and shoulders above many other organisations. Meaning you’ll be in a far better position to attract and retain top people in your teams.
If you’d like more information about offering flexible job opportunities and what this could mean for your business, please don’t hesitate to give us a call on 01291 628888 (Chepstow) or 02920 263365 (Cardiff) or email us on email@example.com.