Why working parents need flexible work

ca working from home istock

If you have children, you’ll be all too familiar with the stress that comes with trying to manage your commitments at work when your children need you to be with them.

It might be because they are sick, or need to be brought to an appointment, or have a game or performance that means everything to them; the reason doesn’t matter.

What matters is being able to balance your commitment to your job with the one you have to your family.

Sometimes you’ll know about a looming clash between work and meeting your children’s needs and you’ll be able to plan ahead and arrange the time off in advance. But sometimes you won’t; when your child wakes up in the morning with a raging fever and can’t go to school, for instance.

juggling act

Employees whose children are very young are the ones who find a job with a rigid, inflexible structure least compatible with the realities of family life. A McKinsey survey found employees with children aged five and under cited caring for their family as one of the top five reasons why they were considering quitting their job.

Employees don’t want to let their employer down, but when things don’t go according to plan and they are faced with a sick preschooler, what alternative do they have?

It makes sense that the parents of very young children are the ones most likely to seek remote work. That way, if they need to be at home with their sick child, they can still get their work done.

But while fully remote work is the solution for some, it can lead to employees feeling isolated or disconnected from their employer, Remote workers can find it harder to feel part of a team.

Many parents, and especially those of very young children, are finding that other forms of flexible working are the answer. And by instigating flexible working policies, employers are acknowledging that although their employees have important family commitments, they are still valued within an organization.

Finding the right fit

Recent research shows that flexibility is the number one thing employees want when considering their employment prospects. And so employers who want to attract the best talent have to offer just that.

Flexible working comes in many different forms. In the wake of the pandemic, hybrid working is now firmly established and the new norm in many organizations, Research shows hybrid working benefits employee health and well-being, reduces burnout and can improve productivity.

Other trends in flexible working include a compressed working week, with the holy grail of the four-day week now a reality for some, and flextime, with working hours designed to suit each individual employee’s circadian rhythms and their responsibilities outside of work. So long as the employee completes the required number of hours, it’s up to them when they do that.

Companies such as Microsoft even allow employees to choose their start time to optimize their performance, so larks can start their working day at first light and owls can sleep in and work into the evening.

If you think you and your family would benefit from you having flexible working arrangements that would allow you to drop and collect children from school or childcare for instance, then it’s worth asking your manager if it’s an option.

Given that flexible arrangements are now more prevalent, it’s unlikely that you’ll be the first employee to ask. Point out the benefits you see in terms of increased productivity, and a reduced chance of burnout from stress.

Hopefully, your employer will be willing to discuss flexible arrangements with you. But, if not, there are plenty of employers out there who will.

Here are three positions which are open right now:

Flexible working is part of the deal at Mental Health America (MHA), which is seeking a Vice President of Government Affairs who will be responsible for advancing Mental Health America’s legislative and administrative federal agenda. You will need to be passionate about improving mental health and well-being as you will be responsible for building key relationships with congressional and agency staff, drafting legislation and administrative comments, and working with partner organizations to achieve mutual policy goals.

The Office of The Chief Financial Officer is hiring a Budget Officer to assist in its mission to enhance the fiscal and financial stability, accountability and integrity of the Government of the District of Columbia. An equal opportunity employer, the OCFO offers a competitive salary and benefits package including medical, dental, retirement, and educational assistance.

Elsewhere, the Democratic Attorneys General Association (DAGA) is looking for a Deputy Director of Accounting and Finance. This person will be responsible for supporting the accounting and finance functions for the organization’s three legal entities and while extended and nontraditional work hours are required at times, staff follow a hybrid remote working model and work two days per week from home.

If you’re looking for further opportunities offering flexibility, visit The Hill Jobs Board where you can browse a wide selection of open roles right now

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