Tips To Help Mothers Stay Productive and Do It All

 

This Sunday, mothers will be celebrated everywhere for all that they do. In recognition of this special day, we surveyed professionals to discover what it takes for working moms to overcome obstacles when balancing work life and caring for children. Resoundingly, the answer was flexibility.

Courtesy: steppingstonellc.com

 

(courtesy: steppingstonellc.com)

According to the recent survey, flexible work hours, the option to work closer to home (both 95%) and the option to choose video-conferencing over travel at times (86%) were top of the list in helping working moms do it all.

Often times, women want to scale back on their careers during preschool years and then go back full-time once children are school-aged (source: WorkingMother.com). Previous Regus research has revealed 56 per cent of businesses globally value part-time returning mothers because they offer skills and experience which is difficult to find in the current market. In addition, 72 per cent believe that companies who ignore part-time returning mothers are missing out on a significant and valuable part of the employment pool.

Here are some tips to help moms get back to the workforce while maintaining a comfortable balance between profession and childcare.

Provide flexible work hours – Working a regiment 9 to 5 schedule with the technology available today is becoming an old way of life. While it’s important to be in the office for face-to-face meetings or to create rapport, flexible hours should be an option to allow working moms to meet childcare scheduling i.e. to drop their kids off at school or pick them up, if necessary.

 

 Allow times to work from home or remotely – Recently, Yahoo’s CEO Marissa Mayer faced criticism when she took away the ability for employees to work remotely. While it’s important to have employees in the office, there are times when working remotely or from home should be permitted. For example, letting moms work three days in the office and two days at home, or in a flexible workspace, can create an environment in where both a business’ and a mother’s needs are met.

Understand that there will be necessary time off – Children can get sick, especially when they are in day care. Without doubt, there will be times when moms need time off to care for their child. Employers who understand this and let moms stay home to care for their children, will discover they have professionals who are much less stressed about trying to manage both professional and personal needs and can be more productive when back in the office.

Look into flexible workplaces closer to their home – Working from home isn’t always the ideal option for moms. There can be many distractions and a mother’s home office may not be fully equipped to operate at full scale. That’s when a flexible workplace, like Regus’ ThinkPods or private offices, can provide great benefits to working moms while also decreasing long commute times. It’s easy to stop into a business centre located in residential areas to use flexible working spaces and still be close to home.o home.

Five ways to ensure your boss trusts you to work flexibly

We’ve got the technology to make flexible working a reality – but it’s taking time for our bosses' mind-sets to catch up, according to the findings of Regus’ global survey on new ways of working.

Of the 24,000 responses, a staggering 89% said that their managers needed to accept flexible working more, while 85% said they wanted their bosses to show more trust in staff who are working flexibly. 

So how do you convince your manager that your days out of the office aren’t spent lunching with friends or channel surfing on the sofa?

Is this what your boss thinks you're doing when you work from outside the office?

I manage a flexible sales force of accounts directors. My people work where they need, when they need, and I judge them by results. Getting to a place where I felt confident doing this wasn't easy, though. The trick is to create a foundation of trust – trust that you’ll keep your boss and your team in the loop, that you’re as productive as you where when you were desk based, and that this new way of doing things won’t negatively impact business or customers.

Easier said than done? 

Here are my five top tips on to ensure your manager trusts you to work flexibly:

1: Meet fears with solutions

Cutting days in the office may aid work life balance, but for your boss it means you're harder to keep track of. Provide them with the solution. Can one of your team deputise for you in those impromptu meetings? Can your boss genuinely reach you at any time on Skype or your mobile? Have you shared your calendar with him, so he can always know where you are each day?

2: Keep colleagues in the loop

It’s not just your boss who may be anxious about flexible working. If you manage a team they’ll want to know how it impacts them too. Take their feelings into account. What’s in it for them? Is there a chance to use new technology  - Google Hangouts, perhaps, or videoconferencing – to bring your team closer together.

3: Test it out

Give yourself, your boss and your team, time to adjust with a trial period. This can be as short as month or as long as six. Meet your boss half way through, and at the trial’s end review how it went and hopefully tweak and move forward. 

4: Track your performance 

Work out how you will demonstrate your performance to your boss. This is less of an issue with sales where targets are set, but with project work, it may be worth providing your boss with a daily or weekly to-do list or status report to keep them informed of your workload and when tasks are complete. When the UK listings company Yell switched to flexible working, they found productivity increased across the board. You'll probably find the same – so make sure you can prove it.

5: Exercise some give and take

If you want to work flexibly – then be flexible. That means that your Blackberry’s always on, an urgent email will be answered at the weekend, and you head to your local Regus office at short notice to be video-conferenced in on a crisis meeting. Make this the new normal, and everyone will understand that you still take work seriously even if you’re not in the office.