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Employers Should Embrace and Support Flexible Working

May 08, 2019
by Ezra Moffatt, Consultant
0333 400 7920 | ezra@employassisthr.co.uk

The ‘Modern Families Index 2019 – Employer Report’ published by campaign group Working Families and nursery chain Bright Horizons is an annual study of how working families combine work and family life. 

The 2019 study is based on a survey of 2,750 working parents with children under the age of 13, drawn from 11 UK regions and nations with responses split between mothers and fathers 53% - 47% respectively. Parents were asked questions such as:

  • Are they progressing? 
  • Are they able to balance family life and work? 
  • Do they feel that they way their work is designed and organised allows them to do their best? 

The index has revealed that parents found that working part-time negatively impacts on promotion prospects and affects mothers more than fathers, with 41% of mother and 5% of fathers working part-time. 

The index found that, on average, both full-time and part-time mothers had not been promoted for six and a half years, compared with four and a half years for fathers.

The index showed that technology allows for more flexible working and has overall been seen as a positive contributor to work-life balance. 

However, parents noted that the ability to work from anywhere had probably increased their overall working time. 44% of parents said that they found it hard to avoid dipping into work emails after they got home from work, rising to 50% of all fathers. ‘Anytime, anywhere’ doesn’t mean ‘all the time, everywhere.’

By embracing flexible working employers can attract and retain good employees with both mothers and fathers with 58% saying a flexible worker would positively encourage them to stay and 51% saying they would recommend an employer because of their family-friendly policies. Parents also stated that flexibility boosts employee happiness (68%), effort (51%) and performance (55%). 

The report highlights a number of things employers should be doing to embrace and support flexible working including:

  • Ensuring your flexible working policies are up to date, available and transparent, and that all employees know that they have this right;
  • Ensuring you have robust policies and procedures around the use of technology and that employees know they can and should disconnect without penalty;
  • Ensuring working practices are supportive of work-life balance;
  • Reviewing how flexible working arrangements are monitored and managed and whether it is delivering a better work-life balance;
  • Challenging assumptions that reduced hours means reduced commitment. Start tracking performance appraisals to ensure that flexible workers, and in particular part-time workers, are not penalised by a workplace culture that values long hours and presenteeism.

If you would like us to review your policies or need assistance in dealing with flexible working request please contact Ezra Moffatt on 0333 400 7920 or email ezra@employassisthr.co.uk.