Returning to work after any career break is a nerve-wracking experience. For mothers, there are a host of additional factors that make the process almost crippling.
Juggling extortionate childcare costs, lengthy commutes, family commitments with deadlines and a large helping of #mumguilt – it really is a minefield.
Cogs recently explored the challenges mothers face when deciding to go back into work, we looked at how to build confidence and how to approach the return and what support there is out there to upskill.
In this second part of the series Cogs now consider the challenges mothers face once back in the world of work and solutions to help them manage it all.
Let’s get flexible
Flexible working isn’t something only parents and millennials are rooting for, there is a genuine business case for flexible working for all! Enabling employees the freedom to work hours that ensure they are most productive and happy can offer benefits to the business as well as the individual.
Thanks to campaigns such as FlexAppeal it seems flexible working is starting to catch on! Only 6% of employees are working the traditional hours of 9 to 5 according to a new poll carried out by YouGov. Anna Whitehouse, a.k. MotherPukka and the powerhouse behind FlexAppeal say “Flexible working is not a ‘nice to have’, it’s a fundamental shift that has to happen to the fabric of the working world. We see it as a two-way relationship, businesses trusting their employees and employees taking responsibility to get the job done.”
Cogs spoke to HR Professional Hannah Thompson on this matter “Those companies that are taking a step in the right direction with flexible working are those that have a culture of trust and empowerment, where we as grown-ups are responsible for making sure the job gets done in whatever capacity necessary. There has definitely been a noticeable increase in ‘flexible working policy’ queries from current and prospective employees, proving it is valued as important as much as monetary benefits, if not more“.
For those with children, flexible working is a must. It enables them to work around childcare, work when they are most productive and manage a busy schedule and responsibilities.
“It’s amazing how efficient you can be with your workload when you are given permission to choose your own hours or days, ” added Hannah.
If you are wondering how to ask for flexible working; there are now lots of support out there on how to approach it with your boss.
Go it alone…
While many do not feel their current employer can off them the freedom they desire – a new generation of mum-preneurs are evolving, with many women starting their own ventures from home.
It seems those sleepless nights have provided the perfect foundation for mums across the globe to grow their business dreams, whether it be creating a startup or taking the leap to freelance or consulting.
Larissa Dantes Fleming, Social Media Consultant at motherposter did exactly that;
“Ultimately I’ve found that the only way for me to achieve the ‘balance’ / successfully juggle work & home life is to be my own boss and have true control over my work commitments.” After a gradual process, Larissa began working remotely for an agency and then took a leap into freelance starting her own consultancy in January 2018.
Thanks to digital, and a growing acceptance of different ways of working, the freelance market is more dynamic than ever. Cogs have years of experience working with trusted clients and freelancers. We can even take care of your rates, notice periods, contract duration and all the fiddly stuff – so if freelance is something you are considering then contact us now.
Let go of the guilt
It is a topic commonly discussed between mums and a debate that will never be put to bed. Mothers will always feel guilty.
If they work full time they feel guilty they are not at home if they are a stay at home mum they feel guilty that they are letting themselves down by not pursuing their career.
There is no right or wrong, everyone needs to do what they feel comfortable with, but for those that do return to work, you need to focus your energy on looking at the positive aspects your career is bringing you and your family. Rather than dwell on how you’re not with your child, think about how your professional role is benefitting the family, whether that be financially, or personally.
Looking forward to the possibilities are endless for working mothers, the landscape has changed dramatically over the past 10 years and will continue to evolve. With Government grants promising to support those who have had a career break, and businesses like PWC running “back in business” projects, we will no doubt see more people getting the support they need to get back into work. For mums, specifically, we will expect to see more initiatives like – bringing your baby to work going global, and more with businesses like Digital Mums offering bespoke programmes to mums who want to upskill – the world really does seem to welcome mothers with opening arms.
We praise anyone who has the drive to return to work after a break and hope this article inspires and empowers you to do it.