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How could employers make parents' lives easier? Share your opinions with top businesses

(78 Posts)
MumsnetJobsTeam (MNHQ) Fri 02-Aug-19 11:27:16

Mumsnet Jobs is on a mission to make parents' lives easier. From our Publish Parental Leave Campaign to our flexible-roles-only jobs board, we want to improve the wider understanding of parents' needs in the workplace, and make flexible working the norm.

On the 20th of August, Mumsnet Jobs will be hosting a roundtable event where some of the largest and most flexible employers will gather to discuss how they can support parents in the workplace. We'd love to hear your views on the subject -- and take any questions that you'd like us ask them.

Post below with one change businesses could make to ensure their workplace is supportive to working parents -- or post a question you'd like to ask our guests.

The answers from this thread will be shown during the roundtable, and the questions put to employers in attendance.

CMOTDibbler Fri 02-Aug-19 11:35:54

I think this question is much like the much toted 'what do millennials want' thing (surprise, they want to be recognised and rewarded for their work just like, ooh, 100% of the population), as what parents want is very much the same as everyone else - an employer who has an open mind as to what working patterns looks like. Those who are childfree might want to work a compressed week to allow them to do voluntary work/study/party. Some people are night owls and want to shift their day with a late start. For others, remote working makes a huge amount of sense due to illness or disability.
All of these can also benefit parents, but when we stop the conversation being about only parents and more about employee satisfaction, retention, and performance the more chance of meaningful change

JenniR29 Fri 02-Aug-19 13:38:23

Childcare vouchers would be a great start, the cost of childcare is a deterrent to many parents returning to work, especially full time positions.

HarrietSchulenberg Mon 05-Aug-19 00:44:04

Option to work from home, as already stated above. The culture of presenteeism does not equate to a productive workforce.

Pipandmum Mon 05-Aug-19 00:46:56

Agree with @CMOTDibbler. Flexible working hours would benefit everyone, not just parents.

slipperywhensparticus Mon 05-Aug-19 02:47:12

Yes to more working from home especially in the holidays I can easily work off a laptop at home around the kids they are old enough to occupy themselves but because they cost my daily wage in childcare it doesn't make it worth it

Lolyora17 Mon 05-Aug-19 02:50:37

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

Oblomov19 Mon 05-Aug-19 06:10:58

Flexible hours and working from home when required would benefit many.

Biancadelrioisback Mon 05-Aug-19 06:11:53

4 day working weeks.
There is a study which states that employees would be more productive and improve staff morale (and MH) if they had a 4 day week. Much better w/l balance and hugely beneficial to parents.
I work full time and have a 2 year old, but I work FT because I need to provide for him. I am not a 'career' woman in that sense and if given the chance I'd quit work tomorrow to be with my son. However some parents are career people and want to work so clearly we can't all be thought of as the same.
There is also a large company in UK who makes their staff do a split week which I think is 4/1 but possibly moving to 3/2. Most of the week is in the office but they have a day where they can work anywhere be it co-working space or from home etc. Apparently it's very beneficial and people structure their weeks differently which gives employees a better sense of ownership.

I agree with above post, look at what makes all employees more productive, happier and improve MH

SusieSusieSoo Mon 05-Aug-19 07:30:17

Flexibility (in relation to working hours and working location) but also to look at results achieved rather than input. What I mean is instead of looking at how many hours I do, measure my success on my performance/achievement. (I'm a solicitor I'm measured in how many chargeable hours I do - stop slavishly looking at that & look at how profitable my work is). It's basically looking at margin rather than turnover as a measure of success.

katmarie Mon 05-Aug-19 10:26:35

Can I add salaries which make working worthwhile? So many parents are working simply to keep careers alive and their salary may just cover the cost of childcare. It's a choice I am facing after maternity leave, on my return 90% of my salary will be swallowed by childcare costs. Pay people a decent wage, and everyone benefits, not just working parents.

MmmBlowholes Mon 05-Aug-19 14:48:39

The option to return part time or work from home. Flexibility is key.

lannister Mon 05-Aug-19 15:34:31

The ability to work school hours only and working from home

Notopel Mon 05-Aug-19 15:58:51

Working from home is great but also needs a culture that is supportive of working parents.

I worked for one of the challenger banks who have great remote working polices but there was huge push back around flexible working requests i.e hours/ working patterns etc. I had a FWR turned down for a fixed lunch break (to accommodate the school run), on the grounds that they didn’t want to give the impression that they could be flexible with hours.

They had loads of great benefits - life insurance, marvellous health insurance etc but nothing specifically for parents. After setting up a working group it went nowhere because childcare vouchers had been retired (who knew?!).

Similarly the office ‘all hands’ meeting was at 5pm. It was recorded, so you could always catch up on it later. But if you were a parent, you’d be missing the in office beer and convivial catch up if you wanted to get home to your kids.

And maybe get senior leaders to set an example of family friendly working policies? Operations director at the above company was organising a large meeting at his home, when he had a baby who was just a few months old. I think caterers were being used, but I think it just made me feel extremely sympathetic for his wife and convinced the man just didn’t get the adjustments that were needed for family life.

megletthesecond Mon 05-Aug-19 18:35:40

Flexi time. That includes part time staff.
Option to work from home.

imnottoofussed Mon 05-Aug-19 19:27:22

Sign up to offer workplace nursery. There are schemes available that don't involve the employer setting up an actual nursery! They save employees loads of tax and National insurance and also help the employer get people to return to work after mat leave. Employer can also save some ni.

imnottoofussed Mon 05-Aug-19 19:27:27

Sign up to offer workplace nursery. There are schemes available that don't involve the employer setting up an actual nursery! They save employees loads of tax and National insurance and also help the employer get people to return to work after mat leave. Employer can also save some ni.

imnottoofussed Mon 05-Aug-19 19:27:36

Sign up to offer workplace nursery. There are schemes available that don't involve the employer setting up an actual nursery! They save employees loads of tax and National insurance and also help the employer get people to return to work after mat leave. Employer can also save some ni.

imnottoofussed Mon 05-Aug-19 19:27:42

Sign up to offer workplace nursery. There are schemes available that don't involve the employer setting up an actual nursery! They save employees loads of tax and National insurance and also help the employer get people to return to work after mat leave. Employer can also save some ni.

imnottoofussed Mon 05-Aug-19 19:28:30

Sorry app said it wasn't posting grin wasn't intentionally spamming the thread

Graphista Mon 05-Aug-19 20:20:13

I'm no longer a parent as in dd now an adult, but as someone who has been a single mum last 16 years with all the difficulties that can cause my opinions are based on that.

1 - pay an actually living wage! Applies to all employees I know but especially important for parents I feel, particularly single parents. It's also taking the piss if your company is earning millions yet you're taking from the public purse in the form of paying your employees low enough wages that they need to claim benefits (and I include tax credits in this) it's immoral and selfish!

2 "Option to work from home as already stated above. The culture of presenteeism does not equate to a productive workforce." SO MANY of the jobs i've had could easily have been done from home. Employers are very resistant when with modern tech most jobs can be done from home. At the very least some overtime could be done this way with parents working once kids in bed.

3 provide safe, comfortable work environments The minimum legal standards are just that - the absolute minimum. Healthy, happy employees (with healthy families that they're not passing bugs to and needing time off for sick kids) are more productive. I also had far too many crappy broken or unadjustable chairs, desks that were the wrong height, filing cabinets with broken drawers, poor lighting, computers with dodgy screens... And that's before you even get Into shitty (sometimes literally) toilets with only cold water and no soap for hand washing, with broken locks, nowhere to store damp coats, crappy break rooms with ancient filthy fridges and kettles you took your life in your hands using! - these things may seem "minor" but a poor working environment damages morale AT BEST and contributes to actual illness (meaning employees needing time off sick - so short sighted and self defeating to be honest) at worst!

4 "The ability to work school hours only" yes but I'd like to add to that by saying stop the nonsense that is "rolling shifts"!

Jobs with shift work that do this it makes no sense as the only employees that can work ANY hours are those with 0 commitments outside of work which is really just school leavers/20 somethings who don't have elderly relatives or kids! Have set shifts that applicants know they can do. Also because if you don't have a set work pattern you could well be having to pay (to reserve) childcare you don't use! Childcare providers require notice (usually at least a month) to plan staff ratios and also to budget their own business needs efficiently. I suspect the people thinking this rubbish is a good idea are:

A Men!

B have NO idea how childcare works
And/or
C can afford full time nannies

Another reason to bar irregular hours/varying shifts is the effect such practices have on uc claimants. (But that feels like a whole other thread! And actually goes back to point 1 anyway!)

growlingbear Mon 05-Aug-19 20:28:43

I'd suggest they get rid of the culture of presenteeism and judge work purely on results. In my previous office there were a lot of men who arrived early and stayed late. And spent most of that time stirring up high energy powders in the kitchen and talking about their cycling. While the women who were frowned on for shooting out the door at 5.30 to spend time with DC were getting twice as much work done each day.

BernadetteRostankowskiWolowitz Mon 05-Aug-19 21:22:40

Work based creches at a subsidised rate.

A friend in NZ said this is common there. It's bloody brilliant, if you ask me. Longer days at work as the commute is spent with dc. Possibility of taking lunch break with the child offsite. Reduced costs.

Smiler88 Mon 05-Aug-19 21:46:28

Working from.home as standard at least one day a week

plinkyblonk Mon 05-Aug-19 21:47:36

Flexibility is key! Not just for parents but all employees. I think some employers really don't get that personal life doesn't just stop when you clock in and start again when you clock out.

I've worked for employers/managers before I had kids who didn't really allow flexibility with hours which tbh made me frustrated as I was in early and worked late most days. I doubt they would be more accommodating if I had a child.

I know work for an employer who allows flexibility for all regardless of circumstance ands it's fab. They also have paid carer leave (1week in a roiling year) which we can use if child is ill or you have childcare issues. That's why I've stayed in this job it's not what I want to do forever but I work round my child/home life rather than the other way round.

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