The benefits of flexible working have been documented on many occasions, and they include boosted employee morale, increased focus and productivity and a firm’s ability to attract the best and brightest talent. Women with children can also benefit greatly from flexible working, as it allows them to balance contributing to the workforce with caring for their offspring.
The government had working mothers in mind with the launch of their Flexible Working site at the beginning of April. This website is specifically aimed at giving mothers support with achieving the work-life balance necessary to become a conscientious employee. Launched by Amber Rudd, the Work and Pensions Secretary, the website aims to be a resource for working mothers, hosting at least 50,000 advertisements for employment accommodating the requirements of women with children.
This initiative is a pioneering step in catering to the specific needs of women who want to work but need to balance this with their childcare responsibilities. It is the first time that women who have to care for children have had tailored opportunities directed their way.
Research has demonstrated that flexible working is the most popular employment benefit among working parents. One survey indicated that up to 85 per cent of working parents in the UK would forego other incentives to avail themselves of flexible working.
The development of technology such as VoIP, which makes working from a range of locations easier, has contributed to making flexible working an arrangement with positive outcomes for employers and staff.
Ms Rudd herself has said that being a working mother, particularly a single mother with a job, is very challenging, when it comes to giving all commitments – whether at home or at work – the care and attention they need. She said one of the new website’s ambitions was to make it fairer and easier for women to get back into rewarding work once they have had children.
The minister also said that being a mother should never prevent anyone from taking on a job that they are qualified to do, and that the UK of the 21st century should be a place where women can take advantage of flexible working in order to lead more productive lives.
Penny Mordaunt, who is the Minister for Women and Equalities, also commented on the website initiative, saying that the Department for Work and Pensions has plans to help everyone to overcome any barriers or challenges that they face when it comes to looking for gainful employment. Ms Mordaunt said that people need more options, and the government is determined to ensure that these become available. She said the government’s aim is for all Britons to achieve the full potential of which they are capable and in the process also become financially resilient while developing a secure financial base for themselves.
The government recognises that supporting flexible working is good for parents, good for employers and ultimately good for the nation as a whole.
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