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Flexibility is key to keeping parents in the workforce

A new study published by the University of Kent reveals what many working moms and dads could already tell you: flexibility is the key to keeping parents in the workforce after they have kids.

 

According to the study, flexible working is the most significant factor that impacts a parent’s sense of work-life balance.  This is especially true in times of increased family strain and responsibility.

 

“Flexible working [is] not only a tool for work–life balance.  [It is] also a tool to enhance and maintain individuals’ work capacities in periods of increased family demands,” according to the study.

 

The implications of these findings are fairly obvious for working parents.  Employers need to be more mindful of work-life balance.  They should be focused on creating flexible works environments if they want to increase employee retention.

 

The study examines five years of findings (2009 – 2014) from Understanding Society, a large household survey in the UK that maintains data on flexible work arrangements.

 

According to the study, “flexible working may help alleviate some of the negative consequences of the motherhood penalty.  [It] allows mothers to remain in human-capital-intensive jobs, which can help diminish the gender wage gap.”

 

Flexible work policies also help keep parents in the workforce.  And it may help narrow the gender pay gap.

 

Oh, and other studies have shown that flexible workers are more productive.  They are sick less often, work longer hours and are happier in their work.

 

Seems like a win-win-win-win.  Except for maybe the longer hours part.

 

But at least you can work in your PJs.  That’s what working flexible hours is all about, right?