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Flexible working the most sought after benefit for working parents

Parents will increasingly demand flexible working options from employers to enable them to spend more time with their family, new research from workspace provider Regus suggests. The survey found that 85% of working parents would forfeit other benefits to take up flexible working, with 81% surveyed believing the top benefit is a better work-life balance.

Flexible workspace, sometimes known as co-working, 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 these locations no matter where they are.

This accessibility is a key benefit of using flexible workspace, offering users the potential to skip the commute and work closer to home. According to the Regus working parents survey, the number one activity parents would spend their time on, instead of commuting, is being with family (71%), followed by having ‘me-time’ like having a long bath or meeting friends (38%).

Employers take note: working parents willing to sacrifice for flexible options

Employers should take note as well, as flexible working options are a top priority for employed parents. 96% of working parents say that they would work for an employer that provides flexible working as part of a benefits package and 74% say they are willing to take on a different job if it offered a range of working locations.

Making the most of flexible options

Switching to flexible working can make a significant difference to quality of life for parents – and Regus has top tips for parents looking to make the switch:

  1. Negotiate with your employer: Convincing your employer to offer flexible working needn’t be a hassle, even if this is not yet offered by your workplace. 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 lunchbreak (85%) or forfeit other benefits like a company gym membership (85%) to take up flexible working.
  2. Think creatively about your location: Commuting time doesn’t necessarily mean the time spent traveling 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 workspace is related to a whole new era of working which, thanks to new technologies, allows workers to embrace flexibility. For many parents, a 9 – 5 schedule doesn’t match that of their child. To get the most of flexible working, see if you can adapt your schedule with a late start and late finish, or 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 everyday if you don’t need to – but it’s good to know that when you do need to, you can.

Jo-Anne Bushell, IWG Managing Director for Africa, says “The pace of modern working can make managing the work-life balance tough for anyone – but parents especially struggle to ensure family and career exist in harmony. Using flexible workspace provides parents with a solution by cutting down the commute time and allowing for a flexible schedule that fits around personal commitments. The number of parents expressing an interest in the benefits of flexible working is rising, suggesting employers should expect more working parents to ask for this when they are seeking for a new role.”

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