Isn't It Time To Clean Up The F-Word?
This week, Digital Mums have launched their awesome new campaign. Clean Up The F-Word.
A campaign to stop flexible working being seen as a dirty word.
It has reminded me of my own journey to finding flexible work and combining interesting, challenging work with a happy family life.
When I started thinking about starting a family many years ago, I did what I always do.
I started some extreme research. I googled, read, watched, chatted, went to events, posted and more.
I read books about how to manage a family and a career. I read blogs by women who were sharing how to make it all work. I joined forums and Facebook groups. I went to events about the maternity transition run by people like the brilliant City Parents
And I wasn’t even pregnant yet!
One interesting trend emerged. That flexible working was a key to success and that it was not easy to find or get.
For example. When someone posted in a Facebook group that they had found an employer or client who offered flexibility, it would spread like wildfire. With comments from other women lamenting the fact that they wished they could join that company and how great it sounded and how inflexible their work was.
It made me wonder. Did that company knew how much benefit they were getting from offering flexibility. Were they quantifying the benefits? Benefits like access to a wider talent pool, brand awareness and positive brand sentiment.
Benefits they were paying advertising agencies and recruiters a lot of money for.
So today’s post is dedicated to the benefits my employers and clients get from offering flexibility.
Let’s start with the hard facts.
10 Hours A Week Extra Productive Time
I save 2 hours a day commuting and that is time I can use to be more productive.
Before starting my family, I had been commuting for 24 years! I lived in North London and went to school in Central London and I commuted by tube since I was 11 years old.
It’s very hard to make commuting time on a busy tube, bus or train productive. I’ve listened to podcasts, read books, tried to work and more.
At the end of the day it’s wasted time.
Saving £200 a month.
This is a benefit to my employer and clients. Mainly because the more money I have from the work I do, the less pressure there is on me to ask for pay rises or increase my rates.
Less Sick Days
I haven’t lost working time to sickness in the last two years. I get less ill because I’m eating better, I have time to exercise and I am much less stressed. When I am ill, I can juggle my work around and still get it done.
Results Not Time
Working remotely, I am judged on what I am producing rather than the amount of time I’m in the office or in meetings.
I managed staff and teams for over 12 years. As a manager, I would have loved to have been able to manage based on results not whether they were at the deck by 9am.
Now for the softer stuff.
Working from different locations, with different people and having freedom has made me a much more creative person. Creativity is a major driver of our economy and is lauded as the key to our success in the future. It’s a huge benefit that I am more creative.
Loyalty and Goodwill
I am almost evangelical about organisations I work for (The Soap Co. and Digital Mums to name a couple) and the trust they put in me. In return for flexibility, they are getting a huge advocate for their business - in real life and on social media. Word of mouth marketing is hard for businesses to quantify and therefore gets overlooked but it is huge benefit.
I could continue writing this blog all day. I’ve hardly scratched the surface of the benefits for organisations of all sizes to embrace flexible working. But ironically, I must get back to my work.
I’ll leave you with one last point.
I get to wear what I want. And yes, somedays it’s these pink sunglasses and very colourful jacket. And it makes me much much happier than my black suit ever did.
Do you have the flexibility you need for your career and family life? Isn't it time that this changed?
Join me and sign this petition asking the government to redefine flexible working and help employers see the benefits of flexible working for their business.