For many working parents, the start of the new school year can be a blur of PE kits, packed lunches and rushing to make the commute. Perhaps it’s not surprising that a third of parents told us that they feel burned out often or all the time.
But life doesn’t have to be a race against the clock.
Wednesday 5th October is Go Home on Time Day, an annual celebration of leaving work on time and spending time with your family or on activities you love. The day can be a trigger to think about your work life balance for the rest of the year – and perhaps to reassure yourself that the world will keep turning if you do leave work on time!
Only you know what the right balance is for you and your family, but the next step is to be able to actually achieve it.
Every employee in the UK has the right to request flexible working once they’ve worked for their employer for six months – and we’re proud to have played a part in securing this change in the law – but flexible working only works if jobs are designed properly to fit in the hours allocated to them. When we asked working parents why they’re putting in extra hours at work most of them said that this was simply down to workload – they felt it was the only way to get the job done.
Flexible by default
The ambition of Hire Me My Way – where all jobs are advertised as flexible as the norm rather than the exception – is what we urgently need to bring about a sea change in UK working life. This one step would increase the number of flexible jobs available, getting more people into the workplace, and maybe denting the chaos of those manic Monday morning school runs.
But the real value of a flexible by default jobs market could be that it prompts employers to think about the jobs they have on offer and the best way of getting them done. Are there enough hours in the working day to achieve what’s needed? Do people need to be present in the office? Do tasks need to be carried out in conventional office hours? These are some of the questions that managers could be asking themselves before recruiting a new post – they’ll make sure they get the best person for the job and that they’re reaping the business benefits of flexible working.
Families need both time and money to thrive – this shouldn’t be a zero sum game.
We’d love to see a picture of your watch or clock as you leave work on time on 5th October – tweet us @workingfamUK with the hashtag #timetorebalance
Working Families is the UK’s leading work life balance charity and is proud to support the Hire Me My Way campaign. One way that employers can signal their support for the campaign is to use our Happy To Talk Flexible Working strapline on their recruitment advertising.