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The pros and cons of being a flexible-working parent

Author: Sam Shinners
Working Parent Flexible Working

People always say that the hardest job in the world is being a parent... and whilst I can fully confirm that’s true, I would say that the added chaos and emotional turmoil caused by being a working parent is on another level. It’s all a complex balancing act... childcare, school runs, meetings, deadlines... writing blogs!

Working parents also get the added bonus of feeling incredibly guilty, worrying that we’ve made the right choices for our family, that our children are somehow missing out because we aren’t around all the time. Although I'm more than happy to hand over my mental 2-year old at the moment!

I am lucky enough to work flexibly, mainly from home. Being part of a company like Forward Role, that allow me to do so, helps massively with the juggling act of parenthood. A YouGov survey found that almost half of people work flexibly with job share or compressed hours and only 6% of Brits work the traditional 9-5 hours. Thankfully for us parents, more and more companies are becoming open to the idea that flexible working is better for productivity.

The benefits of flexible working for parents:

The flexibility to meet family needs and personal obligations. Personally I love that I can switch off from being ‘Muuuum’, fully challenge myself and become immersed in my job... then turn back in to Mum and go off to watch the school nativity!

Reduced commuting times, lower fuel costs and consumption. Saving the planet and your stress levels at the same time! Working from home saves that 2 hours a day that would usually be spent crawling through rush hour traffic.

Reduced childcare costs. According to the Workingmums Annual Survey 2018, 29% of parents pay out over £500 a month on childcare! Which let's face it is outrageous! Although flexible working still requires childcare for many, it does reduce the amount of hours needed. If a couple are both working flexibly then there is a chance that no childcare would be required!

Increased feeling of control over schedule and workload. Flexible workers are able to manage their time and schedule to what suits them best, this means that they are often much more productive.

However according to the Workingmums Annual Survey, for some people there are some negatives to flexible working:

  • 54% of those working part time feel that their working pattern means they miss out on opportunities for career progression such as training.
  • 65% agree that they have to work harder to prove themselves in the workplace, to overcome unconscious bias.
  • 27% feel discriminated against in their workplace due to their flexible working arrangement.

Being a working parent is a chaotic balancing act as I’m sure many of you know and finding what works for you and your family is important! The communication between employer and employee plays a huge part and companies that offer family-friendly flexibilty are much more attractive to parents! 

Being a working parent is hard... just keep going, you are doing great!

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