A new Regus survey reveals flexible working to be the most important benefit for parents – with many willing to forfeit other perks in its pursuit
How much would you be willing to sacrifice to enjoy more flexibility as a working parent? If you’re like 85 per cent of people in a recent Regus survey, the answer is probably a lot.
The Regus Working Parents Survey revealed that just over four out of five (85 per cent) would forfeit other benefits to take up flexible working, with 81 per cent saying this would enhance their work-life balance more than any other factor.
‘Flexibility’ as presented to the survey respondents included access to flexible workspace, sometimes known as co-working. This offers individuals and employees a space to get work done without going into the office, or staying at home, where they are subject to distractions. The growth of flexible workspace means that people increasingly have access to co-working locations no matter where they are.
Using flexible workspace enables many workers to skip the commute and work closer to home. According to the survey, the number-one activity parents would spend their time on, instead of commuting, is being with family (71 per cent), followed by having ‘me-time’, such as takng a long bath or meeting friends (38 per cent).
And employers should take note: 96 per cent of working parents say that they would actively seek out an employer that provides flexible working as part of a benefits package, with 74 per cent saying they would be willing to switch jobs if they were offered a range of working locations.
If you’re a parent looking to make the switch to flexible working, you may want to consider the following:
1. Negotiate with your employer
Just because your employer doesn’t yet offer flexible working doesn’t mean you can’t persuade them. See if you can swap one benefit you may not use for the flexible option or work out a new schedule. For example, working parents reported that they are willing to work through their lunch break (85 per cent) or forfeit other benefits such as a company gym membership (85 per cent) to take up flexible working.
2. Think creatively about your location
Commuting time doesn’t necessarily mean the time spent travelling from your front door to the office. With co-working and flexible spaces in more locations than ever, if it’s better for you to be near a school or nursery, or near a client rather than your main office, flexible working can make this shift possible.
3. Banish presenteeism
Flexible workspaces are related to a whole new era of working which, thanks to new technologies, allows workers to embrace flexibility. For many parents, a nine-to-five schedule doesn’t match that of their child. To get the most out of flexible working, see if you can adapt your schedule with a late start and late finish, or an early start and early finish. Or throw the schedule out the window and focus on delivering results.
4. Flex your flexible working
Can’t make the switch to full-time flexible working? See if you can have an option available in an emergency, such as a gap in childcare or a tight schedule. Don’t use flexible workspace every day if you don’t need to – but it’s good to know that when you do need to, you can.