86% of small organisations report that at least three quarters of their employees are working flexibly, compared to just 28% pre-pandemic, according to research by Working Families.
However, 2 in 5 working parents planned to move jobs in 2022, according to a poll.
So it seems there's still a way to go before working parents can receive the support & flexibility they need across the board.
In this blog, we look at the different ways SME employers can support working parents and increase equality.
6 ways employers can support flexible working for parents
Employers play a vital role in creating choice & opportunity for working parents through flexible working, and this is also a key step towards gender equality.
69% of working parents feel they've been able to be more involved with their children's lives due to flexible working, research by KinderCare reports.
Here are 6 ways SME employers can support working parents:
Challenge stigmas around flexible workingTry and break down social norms (or lack of them) attached to men requesting flexible working to care for children.
Actively promote your flexible working policy and make it clear this is designed to support everyone with caring responsibilities.
Demonstrate and celebrateShow examples of people who are working flexibly, effectively and productively. Move away from a culture of presenteeism and focus on output.
Identify senior flexible working role modelsAsk colleagues in senior positions to talk about how flexible working works for them.
The Working Families 2022 benchmark report found that 70% of part-time senior managers in organisations surveyed are women. This shows the importance of flexible working allowing for career progression.
Actively promote company policiesMake sure employees are aware of policies related to flexible working and Shared Parental Leave. This legislation was introduced to provide partners the legal right to divide parental responsibilities, as well as paid time off work.
Can roles be made more flexible?Can any existing roles be made more flexible? Do your employees have the choice to work from home, or to start/finish later, for example?
Also consider how flexibility can apply to new roles. Timewise research found that just 22% of 'quality' jobs are advertised as flexible.
Bring your policies in line with the government’s Good Work PlanThis is a set of proposals which encourages businesses to improve workforce equality by advertising all jobs as flexible from ‘day one’.
The right to flexible working from day one of employment is being implemented by the government.
Resources to support working parents
It's so important support working parents and help them to balance family life with their career goals.
We know that flexible working improves productivity, so businesses benefit too.
Working Families is the national charity for UK working parents and carers, offering advice for parents, carers and employers, along with published research.
ACAS offers advice on flexible working, along with time off work for parents.
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Author: Aimee Brougham-Chandler
Aimee is a Content Assistant here at Breathe. She enjoys writing about topical HR issues & helping readers find solutions. In her spare time, she is commonly found amongst books.
Posted on 31 January, 2023