Is your workplace accommodating working parents?

These days, teams can work from just about anywhere thanks to digital communication

Is your workplace accommodating working parents?

Employees are increasingly looking for flexible work arrangements from employers as advancements in technology allows them to work remotely and juggle their time, according to MYOB New Zealand general manager Carolyn Luey.

“These days, teams can work from just about anywhere thanks to digital communication, smart phones, laptops and other new technologies,” said Luey.

“People also are more likely to be able to negotiate flexible working arrangements – particularly if they’re a parent or primary caregiver.”

Luey’s comments come following the latest MYOB Business Monitor survey of more than 1,000 small-to-medium sized businesses around New Zealand, which found that 60% offer some form of flexible work options to staff – including almost one-in-five that make specific work arrangements for staff who are parents.

The range of arrangements offered include 18% who offer flexible hours to working parents, more than a third (34%) who say they allow staff to work from home, 22% who offer the ability to vary start and finish times and 8% who offer four-day working weeks.

Luey said working parents rely on flexible work arrangements during the school holidays, in particular.

“The average working parent receives four weeks of annual leave a year, while their children can receive up to 12 weeks of school holidays,” said Luey.

“So, taking time off to manage childcare can be a real challenge if you can’t change your hours or have the ability to work from home.”

Even though day-care centres, school holiday programmes and full-time nannies are viable options, Luey said not all parents can afford such care.

“With the right support from their employers, working parents can meet both their professional and parental duties with ease,” said Luey.

“It’s a matter of knowing their requirements and looking for a way to accommodate individual needs.”

The survey results also found that larger businesses are more likely to offer flexible work arrangements, with 69% of businesses with a revenue of more than $5 million allowing their staff to work from home.

Forty-four percent of these businesses also offer flexible work arrangements to parents, while a fifth (21%) offer four-day working weeks.

The research also identified that older employers are among the least likely to offer flexible work options, with just one percent of employers over the age of 70 providing flexibility to working parents.

Moreover, almost half (45%) of this group saying they do not offer any flexible work arrangements to their staff.


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