Working mums and the work/life balancing act
Flexible working patterns for men and women have increased in
recent years, with over six million people in employment now
enjoying flexible working across the UK. An innovative software
solutions firm in Aberdeen has realised the importance of deploying
flexible working. Codify allows Lisa Thomson, a young mum of two,
to fit her working hours around her home life.
A Government survey in 2005, found that 22% of parents with
children under six years, requested to work flexibly with 81% of
these requests being fully or partly accepted by employers.
Requests were significantly more common in women than men with over
a third of full time working mums making a request for some form of
Research commissioned by the Women and Equality unit in 2003
found that the demand for flexible working coincided with a rise in
mothers returning to work after having children. For many women,
coping with the challenges of juggling a career and family life
wouldn't be possible without being able to negotiate some sort of
flexible working hours. Parents working long hours may find it more
difficult to meet their children's needs. More flexible working
arrangements, can allow additional family time and aid working
mothers in the work/life balancing act.
The flexible working law gives employees with children (under
the age of six or with a disabled child under 18) the right to
request flexible working hours and places a duty on employers to
seriously consider this request. It is designed to help the
employer and employee find a mutually agreeable resolution.
However, as this law only gives employees the right to request
flexible working, employers may reject a request for flexible
working provided they give a valid business reason.
As well as the obvious benefits flexible working brings for
working mothers, the benefits for employers are also significant.
According to a recent Microsoft report there is a serious IT skills
shortage in the UK and only 1 in 5 of the UK IT workforce is
female. This means many IT companies aren't making the most of
available flexible working opportunities. More companies should
adopt policies like Codify in order to help with recruitment.
Flexibility in the workplace can also increase continuity and
loyalty, as staff who may have otherwise have left, can negotiate
hours they can manage. Mark Griffiths, Managing Director of Codify
says "Companies shouldn't discourage flexible working because they
feel it may affect business productivity, in actual fact, it
assisted Codify in recruiting an additional member of staff who
otherwise would not have chosen to join Codify.
Mother of two Lisa Thomson, works full time at Codify as a
Project Manager and successfully manages her job and family life
through working flexibly.
Lisa comments, "Being a mother with two children under the age
of four means that I actually juggle two jobs and my life can be
quite hectic, especially in the mornings! My days are quite
regimented from the time I get up until the kids go to bed -
routine is of paramount importance. Codify have been really
understanding of the fact I am a mother and allow me to work
flexibly to suit both my work and family needs. I work a 35 hour
week, slightly less hours than the other employees which allows me
to finish a little earlier each evening. Flexible working is great
for me as it means I am out of the office in time to pick the kids
Lisa continues, "I think it's extremely important that employers
give parents the opportunity to negotiate flexible working hours.
If I couldn't finish work a little earlier every day, I wouldn't be
able to manage my home life as well as I do. There are a number of
benefits it brings for both employee and employer. In my case,
being able to negotiate the hours I work, has made me feel more
valued as an employee and has aided me in having more time to spend
with my family.
Mark Griffiths, Managing Director of Codify, discusses the
advantages flexible working has brought to the company,
"Introducing a flexible working policy makes good business sense
and benefits everyone, including employer, employees and their
families as we have found working with Lisa.
Flexible working policies can easily be implemented in companies
large and small. In theory, most businesses can accommodate a
flexible working policy, although it will depend on the type of
company and the industry it's in. However, much also lies in the
employer being open to the benefits it can bring for everyone