Working mothers are facing a lot of difficulties in balancing their work responsibilities and the needs of their family since some of the companies are not offering maternity leave or some other benefits. But the flexibility of the workplace is opening new possibilities for working mothers.
So, what is workplace flexibility advantages for moms? Workplace flexibility is offering a number of advantages for working moms and women who are transitioning into motherhood. By having workplace flexibility, moms are able to continue their careers, without abandoning their goals and taking care of their children and family at the same time.
One of the downsides of moms considering a flexible schedule is that very often they can be punished by being left out of important meetings, or passed over for promotions. So, to resolve these kinds of problems the company must set a policy of flexible working for the entire staff.
Implementing flexible workplace means embracing different practices and policies on how the tasks will be done by the employees. A flexible workplace isn’t a one-time initiative - it is a series of actions that need to evolve according to the needs of the company and its employees.
Both employees and employers thrive. Employees are more productive, have lower stress, better health, they are not wasting their time in telecommuting, and overall their happiness increase. On the other side employers have a lower number of absences, lower turnover, better corporate culture and overall, happy employees mean increased productivity.
When it comes to working mothers or women who after their maternity leave are re-entering the workplace, they need a flexible schedule because of daycare of the children, sickness, different types of appointments, school, etc.
10 Advantages of having a flexible workplace and flexible schedule for working moms:
1. Negotiate a work schedule the works the best for you
2. Working on your career
3. Keep your resume updated, and preventing pay loss
4. Healthcare plan
5. Meet all family needs and be the mom that you want to be
6. Taking care of your pregnancy
7. Taking advantage of co-working/childcare places
8. Reduced costs
9. Reduced risk of burnout
10. Child-friendly company culture
There a few different types of flexible work schedules, such as:
Flexible schedules - This type of flexible schedule may refer to different options, like working from home, working from some other remote locations, or simply working different hours, than the usual 9-5. The most popular option is adjusting the work hours without changing the total hours that need to be fulfilled. In these cases, the companies often don’t care about setting the schedules but are concerned about getting the work done in a timely manner;
Part-time work - Working part-time means that the employee is working fewer hours than the standard 40 hours per week. This type of job can be working in the office, working from home, or depending on the work position a combination of the two. This type of work schedule is offering the security of receiving a regular paycheck, without having the commitment of working for 40 hours per week;
Job sharing - Job sharing is when two employees are splitting the workload, duties, salary, and hours, that would normally be done by a single employee. These two employees can agree on the hours they want to work, for example, 20-20, 30-10 or some other combination of the 40 hours, depending on the company’s and employees’ needs;
Compressed workweeks - Compressed workweeks is when an employee is working the full 40 hours, but over fewer days, and not the usual Monday to Friday. For example, instead of working 8 hours per day from Monday-Friday, they can work 10 hours per day from Monday- Thursday. This way the employees get an extra day to be with their family, but also can feel burnt out or overwhelmed;
Seasonal schedules - Seasonal schedules may be a perfect solution for moms that want to work for a few months or weeks during the year. Seasonal jobs usually come at some busy periods, holidays or summer breaks, and are in retail, hospitality, or travel industries;
Short-term jobs - Short-term jobs are the ones that include short-term contract or short freelance tasks. These types of jobs offer the possibility of working for a different company every time you take on a new job;
Some companies are emphasizing on the productivities of their employees, instead of the number of worked hours. This is a perfect solution for mothers since these companies are only interested in the successful completion of the work and its results.
In the past, when a woman was becoming a mother the choice was obvious - putting the baby in daycare or staying home and saying goodbyes to the career they worked hard to build. Women who were smoothly sailing on the paths of their careers and reaching new heights are coming down after becoming mothers. The flexibility of the workplace created a bridge between choosing the career and raising the family.
Nowadays, the flexible schedule allows moms to feel less terrified about the effects that being a mother will have on their job and vice versa, the effects of the job on the family. So they are able to continue working on their careers and raise their precious children. They are able to control their career and continue building an exciting and challenging career. At the same time, they are setting positive examples to their children about their career and work.
Women who decide on leaving their jobs and careers to raise their children are faced with a lot of difficulties when they want to get back in the workforce. They are usually shocked to find that not only they can’t find a job very easy, despite their experience and qualifications, but when they are offered a position, their salary will be a lot lower than before. Also, leaving the workplace would affect the salary and the types of work positions you’ll be qualified for.
While, having the opportunity to continue working remotely, part-time or as a freelancer, will help you in keeping your skills up to date, without having gaps in your resume, and you can continue receiving the same salary. The gaps in the resumes are not very popular amongst employers, and they can present turnoff for potential employment.
If you decide on leaving the workplace, you need to have answers to a few questions. Will you receive better coverage and rates, if you are using your husband’s insurance? What is the experience of your husband’s coworkers regarding the coverage? Will the insurance company pay the claims in a timely manner?
You need to be well informed, so you can make sure that your family is well protected, when accidents, such as stitches and broken bones happened. Also, compare your policy and that of your husband to see what changes will happen if you decide on moving your insurance if your family doctor will accept the insurance of the husband.
The flexibility of the workplace gives the opportunity to keep your healthcare plan, to take care of your family, and not worry if you are covered for different types of costs, visits by the doctor trips to the emergency rooms, prescription drugs, etc.
With the opportunity of flexible workplace and flexible schedule, working moms can take their career anywhere they go. The days of missing important milestone of your children or worrying when they are sick are gone. By working remotely, you can do your tasks, even when you have to be at home attending to your sick child, for which otherwise you would lose a full workday. As the kids grow, the flexible schedule allows you to attend all their events, from soccer practice, birthday parties to different school events. In the end, you get the best of the two worlds, being a mom and make your schedule according to the needs of your children, and work on your career without missing your deadlines.
Also, you will have the flexibility of doing all family and personal chores more easily, like taking a yoga class in the morning, then participate in important meetings, and in the evening waiting for the person for repairing your washing machine.
An additional advantage of having a flexible schedule is the opportunity to take care of aging parents, be there when they need you and take them to their weekly appointments, without having to worry that you need to ask your boss to leave early or come in late.
During the time of the pregnancy, pregnant women have to go to the OB/GYN at least 15 times, if they have a healthy pregnancy. Usually, all these doctor’s appointments are in the middle of the workday and women are getting stressed by having to ask their manager to go to the doctor again, and at the same time, their work assignments might not be finished on time. Flexible working allows pregnant women to take care of their pregnancy, by attending all doctor’s appointments, and finishing their tasks, without having to take personal days, and lose much-needed money.
Co-working places with a childcare center on their premises are becoming more and more popular. All working moms, using the services of these coworking places can be productive and do their tasks efficiently, while being in the same building as their kids. These types of places are not only providing shared space for like-minded moms to advance in their careers but also are promoting children’s well-being in their care, since being a parent to young children can be difficult while pursuing a career.
A flexible schedule can decrease the costs regarding childcare and help working moms or dads to thrive financially and professionally. Also, commuting to work every day, costs time and money for gasoline, car maintenance, bus tickets, lunches, even professional clothes. Of course, entertaining a small child and working at the same can be difficult, so it is best if both of the parents have flexible schedules, so they can make a combination of their work hours, by one of them taking an early shift, and the other one takes a late one. This way they will be able to take care of their children and maximize the time of the children with one of the parents while maintaining full-time jobs and reducing the childcare costs.
Moms, especially single moms with all that running around, between work tasks, family needs, and children events are prone to burnout. Flexible schedule help moms to complete all their chores on time, without being stressed about. Also, take a break when they need, without being scolded by their managers. Flexibility allows all employees, not only mothers to work when they are the most productive and fell fresh, for example, some employees are morning people, but some are night people.
Some of the companies have created an environment where children are welcomed. Parents, especially moms after returning to work from their maternity leave are allowed to take their children to work on certain days. This way, the employees are happier, since they don’t have to worry about finding a nanny for the day and they once they are happier, they are more productive.
For more advantages of workplace flexibility, you can read 25 Workplace Flexibility Benefits
Working for more hours - You need to be clear about your availability when working from home or some other remote location. Otherwise, you may be contacted by your colleagues or managers at any time, and end up working for more hours than the ones you are actually paid for. You have to set boundaries on your availability, so your colleagues know when to reach you. For example, if you say that on Tuesday you will be available from 8 am -12 pm, and then if you respond after those hours, you are creating a problem. It is best if you set up an email auto-response, so the people know when can expect your response;
Difficulty in connecting and networking with their colleagues - Usually, people who are not very present in the office, are having difficulties to connect with their colleagues. So to maintain a regular connection, be proactive and don’t wait to be contacted by your colleagues or manager. Instead, you make the first contact;
Your colleagues might resent you - There is still the stereotype going around that the people who are having flexible arrangements are lazy, not committed to the job or unavailable when their colleagues need them. Being productive has nothing with being present or with the clock in and clock out at certain hours. So if you are one of the people that has been granted a flexible schedule, make sure to inform your co-workers about your availability;
Can’t keep the routine in flexible working - Flexible working is not for everyone, as with working from 9-5. You need to have great time-management skills, because either you will be working all day, or you won’t be able to finish your tasks. Also, some people can’t set between personal and work life, and can do damages either to the company or to the family, and overall to themselves.
Paid maternity Leave - Companies should offer more than 12 weeks of paid maternity leave. So far, this practice is still not the norm. The lack of paid maternity leave is a major concern for new moms, who want to recover after childbirth - physically and mentally, bond and take care of their newborns;
Rooms for lactation - Employers need to provide private rooms, that are not the bathrooms, for moms who are nursing. These rooms need to be clean and equipped with curtains, comfortable chairs, desks, refrigerators for breast milk, pumps, wipes, etc. This way the company will show that they are fully supportive of working moms;
Nursery or childcare in the company’s building - Childcare places are very expensive. So childcare center in the company’s building is very essential for the working mother, not only for reducing the costs but also for staying part of the workforce. This way the employees will be more loyal and productive;
Paid time-off - Offering unlimited paid vacation days or certain PTO policies for working moms, can help them in successfully navigating everything from handling sick days, not missing school events, even handling school vacation weeks.
The law that is protecting the jobs of expecting mothers is the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). This law is protecting their jobs after childbirth for up to 12 weeks. This time-off is not paid by law, it just means that when moms return, their job will be waiting for them.
Depending on the company’s policy the maternity leave can be paid. In some states, such as, New Jersey, California, New York, etc., have their own laws that are offering partially paid maternity leave, or extending to the unpaid leave time.
Usually, expecting mothers are trying to save up their vacation days or sick time, so they can be covered for the time they are using as maternity leave.
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