Mothers in the workforce: Yes, we can! But not from 9 to 5……

Karima Wood

By Karima Wood- It takes a village to raise a kid, whether you are a stay at home mum or like me trying to balance career, kids, household and husband. As an ambitious woman I don’t want my personal identity to vanish in the work process, so I choose to work flexible, simultaneously balancing home and professional responsibilities. My personal experience of flexibility means that my working hours are not a rigid 9-5, I’m available when my company needs me and when my family needs me and the key is that all parties understand that there are times when one must take priority over the other. At least this way of working, even though it’s a full-time job, fits into my idea of personal and professional success.

Whilst the majority of mothers work for financial reasons, there are those in professional environments who work by choice because they like their jobs and the job keeps them challenged, but only a few will openly admit that they want to make a career. Human resources expert Rainer Stack predicts that we are running into a global workforce crisis come 2030. There will be more jobs than people to fill them. In his Ted Talk he says that there will be an overall labor shortage, a huge skill mismatch and big cultural challenge. Mothers can make up the labor shortage in the coming years as many, especially highly educated mothers, want to continue practicing their profession but with the freedom to self-determine the time and place for duties to be performed. Good news for employers who are looking for experienced staff to fulfill difficult full time positions.

Companies want to ensure they are diverse and inclusive. The workplace is a critical driver of the unique culture that distinguish from the rest and sets the basis for the creative excellence that underpins the business.

Nowadays it is easier for moms to find flexible work opportunities to re-enter the workforce with focus on achieving the perfect work life balance. It is much more important for employers that people are accountable for their own actions rather than clocking their hours. Companies thrive on a good culture as it is the key to attracting and keeping top talent.  Along with the employer, the employee should also embrace this culture and be flexible, learning the skills to enable them to easily adapt and switch between tasks quickly and fluidly. This is a competence (or a quality) that employers value in employees, becoming indispensable for successful operation in teams. With a flexible attitude, conflicts will be reduced and cooperation between team members will be smoother.

Companies must take a fresh look at their personnel strategy and the ways they are working. Employers that have a flexible work strategy implemented have a head start in attracting good staff and an entrepreneurial vision on employee ownership is becoming more relevant. For the company a self starter who knows the vision and goals of the company and who takes responsibility for the result is more relevant and simply better than the “old-fashioned” employee, who agreed and kept to fixed working hours in the hiring contract.

By Iva Pavlov on Unsplash

Looking at the future, research has shown that flexible working is also important for generation Y (the Millennials). In the current year, 2020, more than one third of the global workforce is millennial, a generation which has grown up digitally. Freedom in place and time has been fed to them. Companies that are now implementing flexible working hours and new ways of working will therefore continue to have a head start in the battle for the best personnel.

As a mum I can say that being a mother is one of the most challenging yet rewarding jobs a woman will have in her life and if you can achieve a healthy work/life balance, you’re a woman your children can be proud of.

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