What does it take for working moms to overcome obstacles when balancing work life and caring for children? Resoundingly, the answer is flexibility, according to a survey by Regus.
Flexible work hours (73 per cent), the ability to work from home or remotely at times (61 per cent) and a helpful partner who shares in responsibilities at home (65 per cent) were top of the list in helping working moms do it all, found the poll of 658 Canadians.
Oftentimes, women want to scale back on their careers during preschool years and then go back full-time once children are school-aged. Previous Regus research has revealed 56 per cent of businesses globally value part-time returning mothers because they offer skills and experience which is difficult to find in the current market. In addition, 72 per cent believe that companies who ignore part-time returning mothers are missing out on a significant and valuable part of the employment pool.
“Employers who provide career paths for women at all levels — and all life stages — as well as respond to women’s top workplace needs, will reap great benefits in improved productivity,” said Wes Lenci, vice-president, Regus Canada. “Yet the workforce continues to lose able and trained employees with key skills and qualifications as women find the burden of child care cannot be reconciled with working life.”
To help businesses retain top talent, Lenci suggests the following ways employers can offer support through flexible measures to help moms get back to the workforce while maintaining a comfortable balance between profession and child care.
• Provide flexible work hours. Working a regiment 9 to 5 schedule with the technology available today is becoming an old way of life. While it’s important to be in the office for face-to-face meetings or to create rapport, flexible hours should be an option to allow working moms to meet child-care scheduling such as to drop their kids off at school or pick them up, if necessary.
• Allow times to work from home or remotely. Recently, Yahoo’s CEO Marissa Mayer faced criticism when she took away the ability for employees to work remotely. While it’s important to have employees in the office, there are times when working remotely or from home should be permitted. For example, letting moms work three days in the office and two days at home, or in a flexible work space, can create an environment in where both a business’ and a mother’s needs are met.
• Understand there will be necessary time off. Children can get sick. Very sick. Especially when they are in daycare. Without doubt, there will be times when moms need time off to care for their child. Employers who understand this and let moms stay home to care for their children, will discover they have professionals who are much less stressed about trying to manage both professional and personal needs and can be more productive when back in the office.
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