Why flexibility matters

Posted by Louise Bradford

I’m a working mam. With just one little boy, I’m not juggling multiple kids like some working-parents, and I’m aware millions of people manage this feat every day, but there’s no mistaking, it’s not as easy as it may seem. And just because people manage it doesn’t mean it is…

Being a mam is the privilege of my life. Far be it for me to moan; but as anyone who has a little person and a busy professional life to manage knows, juggling the often-conflicting demands of being a parent with a career and all that comes with that is a delicate balance that is often only achieved by putting your own personal needs right down to the bottom of the list.

I’m in the lucky position of working for a flexible company. We take our work super seriously and – hopefully clients agree – we do everything we possibly can to deliver for everyone we work with. But sometimes that’s done with a 4-year-old hovering around in the background on Zoom calls, or on-the-run as I drop him to nursery!

I’ve worked for and with companies where there is simply no recognition of the fact employees are juggling lots of responsibilities outside of the office. Where, despite having the infrastructure and capacity to support working from home, it simply would not be offered on a regular basis to alleviate childcare challenges.

If one positive can be drawn from lockdowns over the past few years (and I’m really having to dig deep as it’s been a devastating time for so many people), it’s been the increased sense of humility created by ‘meeting’ people in their homes via Teams and Zoom and seeing their reality… the ironing on the bench, the cat that walks across their keyboard, the kids throwing a tantrum. The reality of their role outside of work. They all have chores to do; some have a cat to feed; some a kid to care for. It’s very easy to forget the other responsibilities that weigh on people when you do not see them, but the fact is there are lots of other facets to our life beyond the day-job.

I really do believe that, in business, and where it’s practicable, there is room for so much more flexibility than so many firms choose to afford their teams.

If the human race is to continue, people must have children – that’s unarguable! That shouldn’t come as a surprise to any employers out there. And if people have children, there must surely be a recognition that employers have a responsibility to support their employees to effectively manage the pressures that come with that…

So many people – and in most cases women – are pushed out of the workplace and have to check-out of their career because their employer chooses not to support a more flexible workplace. Surely this is wrong…. Surely the economy would be stronger if the swathes of skilled people – typically forced to choose between family or work – could actually choose both…?

We’re in the lucky position of being a business that can and does support working parents to enjoy a rewarding career and still be able to do the school run or go to the nativity play. And it’s a real privilege to be able to offer some much-needed flexibility to the Creo team… Businesses are essentially just people working together after all – and perhaps it takes a village workplace to raise a child!

Stretch Armstrong image sourced from vat19.com, get your own today: https://www.vat19.com/item/the-original-stretch-armstrong