Demand to continue for flexible working from Parents

Pre-lockdown arrangements ‘clearly don’t work’ and encourage businesses to invest in creating family-friendly policies is the warning from business experts.

Almost a fifth (18 per cent) of working parents want to work completely remotely after the pandemic, according to a survey, highlighting the danger of employers failing to continue to offer flexible working options once lockdown restrictions are lifted.

The Modern Families Index Spotlight survey of working parents by nursery care provider Bright Horizons found that just over half (57 per cent) of the 1,000 respondents would like to have a balance between working at their workplaces and remotely.

More than a quarter (28 per cent) of men currently working flexibly, and two-fifths (42 per cent) of women, said they needed to work this way to meet childcare commitments.

However, half of respondents said their employers were either unsympathetic or didn’t offer practical help with their childcare needs. Only one in six (15 per cent) believed their employers had been supportive of their having to home school children as well as work from home.

Despite two-fifths of workers saying they were able to work more flexibly than a year ago, almost half (45 per cent) said their work-life balance had become increasingly stressful.

Aside from childcare needs, a third (32 per cent) of working parents believed that flexible working allowed them to work more effectively. One in six (14 per cent) said it allows them to care for elderly relatives, and one in five said it allows them to pursue outside interests and hobbies.

However, only a quarter of respondents said their employers had made it clear they support flexible working, and just over half (55 per cent) said their employer cared about their work-life balance.

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