Businesses who are working towards a more flexible workforce with “ad-hoc” home working are building a more positive workforce.
A study carried out by AWA – Advances Workplace Associates discovered that allowing staff to work from home reduces sickness and absenteeism. Surprisingly it is also found to improve morale and productivity.
This is positive news as it demonstrates that forward thinking companies in these economic times are embracing flexible working and moving with the times.
There are a number of businesses who are promoting their flexible work policies and are leading the way. Some of these include; Unilever, Aviva, GlaxosmithKline and Nationwide.
Even though this promotes positive attitude and productivity it is equally important that clear policies and guidelines are given to ensure successful usage of home working to ensure it is not abused.
Did you know it is National Work-Life Week? www.workingfamilies.org.uk, sponsored by Unum, will take place from 26th to 30th September.
This is organised by the UK’s work-life charity Working Families, the week will shine a light on the growing importance of family-friendly and flexible working.
How can this work for you and your company…
As an employer
This is a perfect opportunity to review work-life policies. Companies can use this chance to demonstrate commitment to their staff by choosing ways to retain their staff and become an employer of choice.
As an employee
A week dedicated to work-life balance can be used to motivate fellow staff by raising understanding and involvement in network groups and staff associations. This is a great opportunity to spread the word on diversity and the promotion of flexible working for carers and parents.
As an organisation
Companies can use this opportunity to demonstrate and practice work-life balance. Competitions for voting for the “best boss”, “bring you child to work day”. Some organisations go as far as launching well being initiatives – fitness, stopping smoking, healthy eating and promoting more home-working to assist families when there is illness and a need for flexibility etc. Some of these ideas and more give companies a chance to stand out and become desirable employers.
Is you company taking part in National work-life week? If so, what are they focussing on?
As the world in which we live is going through such a change organisations would be worth adopting new policies and moving with the times. I think we will see the working pattern shifting towards greater flexibility and home-working for instance as companies looks to retain top talent and reduce costs. These are only a few examples where businesses can demonstrate best practices.
Good news ladies! A recent study carried out by Randstad has found that UK employees want to see more women employed in management positions. Very positive findings in that it is believed women would increase performance across companies.
This said, over a third of employees firmly believe that their employers would continue to choose male candidates even though there were equally suitable men and women who could perform the same job at a management level.
Interestingly, even though the findings recognised that women managers were much needed, only 15% would prefer a woman over a man as their manager. Only just over a quarter of women would want to work predominantly with females, leaving the remaining figure preferring to work with men.
These are really interesting gender dynamics as on one hand we want to promote and identify more senior women and then the findings suggest that the preferences of working for men still remains….
It has been found in a study carried out by supplement brand Haliborange, that many working mothers are forced to send their children to school when they are sick, as they simply can’t take time off work. Four out of ten mothers have made this decision when faced with the pressure not being able to take time off.
Sadly, 1 in 6 of mums have expressed the “guilt” that has been placed upon them from their employers after taking time off to look after their poorly child. From 2000 women who assisted in the study, one in ten had actually received a written warning from their boss based on their actions. This adds further stress to working mums when they also feel they could potentially lose their job. 27% of the mums felt this.
In many situations the mother is automatically “expected” to stay at home when their children are ill rather than pass the responsibility to the father. Single mothers have no choice here but to make the decision to send them to school or take time off and feel those pressures.
Mounting work loads and also negative moans from colleagues adds to 19% of mums worries. Over 80% of the women questioned highlighted that work colleagues without children couldn’t appreciate how difficult it is to juggle work and children need time off because they are ill. Some women had to even forfeit pay for their time off.
As a working mum I have felt an enormous pressure in my previous career to keep the plates spinning when my child was ill and a decision had to be made by me on each occasion. I did have open minded and a supportive employer at the time which eased the pressure however the guilt simply crippled me from all angles whichever decision I made.
I think women and their families are under increasing pressure at the moment with job security and some working mums financial contribution to their family is absolutely critical for their survival. It’s not all just about the work and peer pressures that contributes to the guilt and stress of being a working mum, but our economic surroundings which is placing a burden on us all.
How have you/do you manage when your child gets ill?
It is estimated that nearly 5,500 women are missing from Britain’s 26,000 most powerful positions. This eye opening find is according to a new report issued by the Equality and Human Rights Commission.
The report found that contributions towards equality from all sectors and occupational categories was not only “tortuously slow” but it “regularly stalls or even reverses”. The report also finds that women are better educated more than ever and are actually achieving better degree results than men. Kay Carberry, Commissioner at the EHRC goes on to say….”These women step on the career ladder and work hard, with a position at the top firmly in sight. In their early 20′s they level peg with men and we would expect them to enter the management ranks at the same rate as men. However, several years down the track a different picture emerges – one where many have disappeared from the paid workforce or remain trapped in the ‘marzipan layer’ below senior management, leaving the higher ranks to be dominated by men”.
Interestingly the findings shows a slight increase compared to 2007-2008. Increases in judiciary, senior police officers, trade union and general secretaries. These figures were actually small. A significant drop was across 10 sectors including – members of cabinet, local authority, public appointments and the health service to name a few.