This week I have been reminded how lucky I am to have an employer that is supportive of flexible work arrangements. I have had two children this week home from school on different days. My role as a Lecturer is very flexible and autonomous, and other than when teaching classes face to face, I can do most of the other tasks of my job from anywhere so long as I have my laptop and internet access. So when life throws me curve balls like this week with my kids, I am glad I can be there for them, and still meet the requirements of my employment.
Statistics* show that almost two thirds of families with children under 15 years of age are dual-income families. It is now more normal than not, for both parents to be working full-time, while managing the demands of raising children. For those also on this journey, you would know all too well the strains this can cause. However, these strains are not so overwhelming when we have an employer who is understanding and flexible. Working from home is one flexible work arrrangment, but others are flexi-time, staggered start and finish times, just to name a few. For some parents, seeking out family friendly employeers has found equivalence to the importance of the salary package offered. Most of these flexible arrangements are targeted at working mothers, however more and more fathers are starting to take up these types of opportunities. My career change from running my own private practice, to working at my current place of employment, was largely influenced by my desire to have a more family-friendly work life arrangement. So far this choice has paid dividends. I would really recommend that dads also consider flexible work arrangements in their employment to help manage home life. Remember it is just for a period of life when it is needed most, not forever.
Individual families have to assess their own circumstances, and what might work best. No situation is the same. But certainly if both parents, or like in our case, just one parent, can have some form of felxible working arrangement to help manage their home life, it is shown that everyone benefits – mums, dads, the kids, and even employers! For those of you who are really feeling stretched by this dual-income arrangement, then investigate if your current employer can allow for some flexibility in your role, or if not, find an employer who will.