Each week we ask our trusted Insights panel of parents a key question. This week we were interested in finding out what kind of flexible working arrangements are offered to accommodate parents in the workplace.  Take a quick read of this week’s bite-sized insights to find out what parents are saying about flexible working.

Would you like business-transforming insights for your brand? Use our tailored panels of engaged parents and our dedicated private platform to gather critical insights to help your decision making and activate customers. Contact us now to find how we can help.

Recommended reading: What Parents Told Us about Family Life Post COVID

We asked our Insights panel of parents a number of questions around the topic of flexible working. Firstly, we wanted to know what kind of flexible options are available and prevalent amongst working parents. Of the parents we asked:

  • 70% have the option to work from home
  • 60% have the option to take unpaid maternal/paternal leave
  • 50% can get time off to go to medical/dental appointments for them or their child
  • 45% benefit from flexi-time to accommodate school drop off and collection
  • 45% are allowed to take paid holidays during school holiday time (Easter, Christmas, mid-term etc.)
  • 45% have the option to take a career break
  • 40% are offered flexible hours that allow them to do work earlier or later in the day to fit around family life
  • 40% have paid holidays that can be used for days e.g. when your child is sick
  • 25% are offered extra paid paternity/maternity leave above the required minimum
  • 10% have access to childcare on site at work
  • 5% have access to subsided childcare

flexible working

Has your employer been innovative in offering anything to you for family-friendly or flexible working that has helped you as an employee?

Comments from our panel members included:

“I have been working at home since the start of the pandemic. We are encouraged to take breaks during the day, particularly at busy times. They have also ran a number of talks in conjunction with the VHI around mindfulness and self-care. The whole issue of meetings and email management has been reviewed to ensure that people are mindful of others who are working in other geographical locations.”

“I’ve been working from home since March last year. I’ve gotten a desk, ergonomic chair, and an extension lead to make working from easier. I feel I can come and go if I need to so long as the work gets done. I can go and run an errand and no one bats an eyelid, I’m saving 2 hours commute per day and have a much more balanced work/life relationship now. I’d be happy to work from home 4 days a week going forward.”

“I work mornings only. It was in the office until COVID, but now it is a mix of remote and onsite working. I am also permitted to take unpaid leave during the school holidays.”

What does flexibility in your job mean to you? Do you feel your employer currently offers you this?

Comments from our panel members included:

“It means not having to work 9 to 5.30, it means a good work/life balance, it means been able to go to a doctor appointment during the day and work through lunch or start early and finish early.”

“It is a lifeline. Without it I could not have managed. My child needs extra supports and had many many appointments.”

“Flexibility would allow me to do shorter/longer days or work from home so long as I got my work completed.”

COVID resulted in many people’s jobs going, at least temporarily, to remote working. We are interested in hearing what you would want your employer to offer for the future as a parent and an employee after COVID is over?

Comments from our panel members included:

“It has been great during the summer to be at home and, even though I am working, my daughter can have her lie-ins and can have play dates. That would have been impossible to manage if I was working in the office. I would like the option to work a few days in the office (2 days per week) maximum. I would like the option to be able to work fully remotely during the school summer holidays as it has been a lot less stressful. The work still gets done and you can have a better work-life balance.”

“I think some parents take advantage of generous flexibility around families so it does need to be limited to an extent. It would be great to be able to offer employees guaranteed time off during school holidays and a certain portion of annual leave days maybe put aside for things like kids appointments parent teacher meetings, etc.”

“The option to work from home if I choose to and maybe go back into the office 1 day a week just to catch up with colleagues.”

“To continue to be flexible and allow me to work from home. I don’t miss the commute!”

Actionable Insights for Employers

  • One of the huge takeaways we’ve seen from the pandemic with regard to the workplace is that the option to work from home for many roles is entirely possible. Now that parents have gotten a taste for the work/family life balance that working from home can provide, many don’t want to go back to working onsite full time. Have you considered your business’ workplace practices for the long term future? Can you offer your employees more permanent work from home options that work for you and your employees?
  • If your business’ ability to offer working flexibility is limited, consider holding individual one-to-one meetings with employees to work out how you can help to accommodate specific needs and build better relationships and avoid employee churn.
  • If the nature of your business means that flexible working hours are near impossible, what other kinds of options can you offer to accommodate working parents? Is there room to offer subsidised childcare or more flexibility when it comes to paid leave?

Would you like business-transforming insights from parents for your business? Use our tailored panels of engaged parents and our dedicated private platform to gather critical insights to help influence consumers to deliver long term profitability. Contact us now to find how we can help.