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The existence of the glass ceiling for women in the workplace has been well documented and highlighted in modern day society. Let’s face it, this glass ceiling, in most cases becomes entirely hurricane, bullet and bomb proof once a woman decides to start a family. 

In many cases though, these are the choices that a family unit make – to let the father be the greater earner and the greater absent family member. The career dreams, ambitions and aspirations are usually put aside, hopefully temporarily, while dedicated Mums muddle through the nappy years.

While Employmum has never joined the Militant Mum brigade, we do believe that offering flexible work to all would level the playing field for everyone in the work place and shatter glass ceilings, cliffs and escalators with one flexible working hammer.

So while we have been leading the #flexiblework revolution in Ireland under the umbrella of Employmum, we will now be championing flexible work for everybody in the work place with our new arm to the business, Employflex.

The demand is there with 30% of our placements now male – with technology and the tradition for presentee-ism becoming a redundant philosophy ( in most forward thinking companies), we know that flexible work is the future of work.

A good friend of mine from college who has risen up through the professional ranks and is in a senior accounting role pointed out the injustice of not being offered flexible work or any Mummy perks; maternity leave, leave for little Johnny’s dentist trips and sick days, a more flexible attitude to days out for care giving etc. She is always the one called on to do the trips abroad, attend the networking events after hours and generally pull her weight way more than her ‘Mummy colleagues.’ ‘I’d like some me-ternity leave too’ she told me ‘Why should all this time out and flexibility be given only to the breeders? Flexibility should be awarded to all, not just Mums and parents’

Fair point! So really flexible work, in order to avoid resentment and divisiveness at work, should be available for EVERYBODY. 

How does it work managing a flexible team?

Flexible work works for everybody , parents and non parents – because we should work to live and not live to work. So how can managers ensure that there is an equitable sharing of flexible work among all it’s cohorts? 

Policy needs to be clear and employees should know exactly what the culture and procedure is for each situation and each department of an organisation. Employers and managers need to ensure that by availing of flexible work, this is not seen as being unambitious or as Mother Pukka puts it ‘Part-time doesn’t mean part-talented, part-ambitious, part-driven, part-arsed. It’s not office code for ‘slacker’; It’s not a case of “she only works part-time” or “he’s just a part-timer”. It simply means less days, less pay’ These types of stigmas need to put in a box and buried in the annals of the history books of the First Industrial Revolution.

Our flexible work audit and toolkit can help build the pillars of a flexible work strategy – We look at:

  • Trust
  • Technology
  • Communication
  • Trial period
  • Measuring results
  • Policy
  • Culture
  • Training management and staff

For those dissenters who say that flexibility is not possible in the roles they have to offer, we would argue that there is always room for some degree of flexibility within your organisation. There are many types of flexible work – part time, job share ( 2 brains for the price of one), compressed hours, part time, remote or part remote, term time – managers can usually work around a variety of options to accommodate different workers’ needs – it just needs to be figured out.

By offering flexible work to all, let’s level the playing field and shatter that Mother of all Ceilings for once and for all 

Life is Short. Work Somewhere Flexible.