Employers don't fully embrace flex working - poll
The vast majority of employers still see flexible working as being synonymous with part-time working, according to a Workingmums.co.uk poll.
The poll of 144 working mums shows 87% think employers are narrowly interpreting flexible working and don't see that it can include options such as homeworking or flexi-time.
Only 13% said they thought employers offered a wide range of flexible working options. The poll comes after successive Workingmums.co.uk annual polls show flexi hours are the most popular form of flexible working.
One working mum said: “What employers should take into consideration is that more flexible working such as at homeworking or set hours to suit is a big benefit to the company as they don't have to worry about health and safety issues, the stress levels of their employees will be much lower and they will take less sick days, leave etc , their business will be better organised and with the brilliance of technology customers contacted via email/phone etc would never know the difference. It means money saved and made with employees having a better lifestyle. Advantages all round.”
Several mums told of inflexible managers and the impact this had had on their morale. One said she had left an employer who claimed to be child-friendly, but if ever she needed to be off when her seven year old was ill, she was made to feel she was a burden. “He obviously couldn't care less about staff and the needs of their children even if he made this out to begin with. This is the reason I don't work for the small-minded man any more,” she said.
Another said she had tackled a colleague who made her feel bad for doing her hours and leaving at 5 o'clock, despite the fact she did a 40-hour week. “I said that my working day had not finished and that my job as a mummy is 24 hours and would she like to swap jobs? She very quickly said no. I think she will think twice before making a similar comment again,” she said.
Yet another said she wouldn't ever mention flexible work at an interview and just works longer if she gets in late in the morning when she is most likely to have childcare problems. She says: “I've used this line for the last 15 years and amazingly no employer has baulked! They seem to see my attitude as odd, but acceptable. My previous employer didn't even know I HAD three children until I left!”
And another commented that she felt it was mainly companies in and around London recognised the benefits of flexible working. She said she had been headhunted for a couple of jobs, but, she says, “as soon as I mention flexible working they're no longer interested in me even when you explain that it doesn't necessarily mean doing less work or spending less time in the office but just a matter of how it's worked. It's about time companies opened their eyes to the positive connection between flexible working and job satisfaction and productivity.”