Working parents reward understanding bosses
With school holidays entering their second week, working parents still have five days left of fitting routine-free kids into their working schedule.
Emily Richards, a director of Dunedin-based recruitment agency Human Connections Group and a mother of two, said the school holidays were made less painful by a ‘‘very child-friendly’’ office. Her six-year-old daughter will spend the next week at work with her, kept occupied by games and puzzles in the office.
‘‘In previous roles that I’ve had, and with managers who didn’t have children, there was a lack of understanding for the responsibilities that come with being a parent, and the impact school holidays can have on one’s work life,’’ she said.
The importance of flexibility is reinforced by MYOB’s latest business monitor survey of more than 1000 small business operators which found 36 per cent defined business success as the ‘‘flexibility to do what they want’’, and only 11 per cent defined it as making a good profit.
MYOB general manager Carolyn Luey, also a mother of two, said business owners with children tended to have a different opinion of what success looked like.
‘‘Let’s not sugar-coat it – I know first-hand that juggling young children and a full-time career is hard.
‘‘But it’s also extremely rewarding and I firmly believe there is nothing wrong with wanting the best of both worlds.’’
As a recruitment expert, Richards said she had seen parent jobhunters place more worth on flex- ible working hours than on high salaries.
‘‘For parents, flexibility is worth more than money any day of the week and the discretionary effort parent employees give back to managers for that type of understanding is worth a lot of money.’’ An Ernst & Young report found that women in flexible work were the most productive members of the workforce. They wasted only 11.1 per cent of their time, compared to an average 14.5 per cent of the rest of the workforce.
Richards said missing an important meeting because of a child was not the end of the world.
‘‘You’re not making up excuses, you’re asking for understanding and empathy – and a majority of people are decent enough to give you that.’’