Alternatives to the office for working parents
During the pandemic virtual working was, of course, the norm but over recent months there has been pressure for some employees to return to the office. Many people don’t wish to go back to the archaic ways of working – long commutes and not seeing their children until the weekends. As a virtual first engagement company, Purple Monster hopes to lead the way here.
A hybrid approach of office and home working has worked perfectly for Purple Monster. We have found both Teams and Zoom can be engaging, memorable and fun, not to mention cost-effective and environmentally friendly.
Georgina Mellor from the Purple Monster team hosted a Linkedin Live on this topic and this blog summarises the positive impact a virtual and hybrid approach can have for parents. You can watch a recording of the session below
Why move backwards?
George said that the flexible working enables her to be the best mother for her family and give the best performance at work - and both would suffer if she went back to being office-based. Other employees feel the same. Sophie Eadon at SR2, a socially responsible recruitment company based in Bristol, also believes people over profit is key and that treating people right reaps huge company benefits. Not everyone liked working at home initially, but the pandemic has given us the opportunity to find a new way and new solution. The past 2 years have given time for companies to make virtual and hybrid working function well. Why move backwards now?
There are many companies who are enforcing a 4-day office week, 1 day at home and calling this “flexible” but this is not the way Purple Monster defines flexible working. To be truly flexible it’s not one size fits all but finding the best way to work that fits your employee’s life as an individual.
One great example Sophie at SR2 raised was when recruiting for an intense full-time role a mum of 1 applied who felt she could do the role in 30 hours – rather than 45. She also needed flexibility to work the role around her kids and the school run which was granted. She’s embraced the role and succeeded in it brilliantly. Many mums have found the same with their employers– working around school hours means perhaps picking up some work early evening after school collection time.
Statistics to prompt change
Anna Whitehouse, who runs the company Mother Pukka, left employment due to a lack of flexibility in her then role. She started a campaign around mothers and flexibility – some recent research her company undertook makes for alarming reading:
- 52% of women left or are considering leaving their roles due to lack of flexibility;
- 37% of females say progress around flexible working during the pandemic has been lost;
- 23% more likely to leave their role since employer enforced to return to the office;
- 46% say there is a stigma attached to flexible working;
- 36% said their mental health would improve their mental health.
Anna emphasised with her research that change needs to happen now to ensure the benefits and positives of the last two years of flexibility are not lost for this huge section of the workforce.
Whilst today’s focus was parents; it’s important to note that flexible working is a perk for parents and those with other commitments such as pet owners or elderly parents needing care. Balancing home and work means a more effective employee – engaged and excelling.
If providing engaging learning and communication opportunities for your remote team is a priority for you get in touch with George at Georgina@purplemonster.co.uk.