September, the beginning of a new school year – which for some of us will mean nothing more than the traffic getting worse again or that it’s the start of the countdown to Christmas. For others, who are working parents, it also signals recommencing the daily juggling act of work, home and school commitments.
Whilst the need to juggle commitments is far from being exclusive to working parents, when children are involved, it’s about much more than logistics. There’s an added element of emotions – seeing a child’s tears after telling them that you can’t drop them off on their first day back at school or that you’ll miss their school production, prize giving, or sports day is difficult. “I need to be in the office” just doesn’t cut it for a child. It’s the work/life integration that all people, not just parents have been trying to achieve for years.
The days when a full time, stay at home parent, historically the mother, was able to do the school drop off, pick up and attend every meeting, performance and open day is a thing of the past for many families. All elements of childcare are generally equally split between parents these days, as a higher proportion of families have both parents in paid employment than ever before.
For me, as a working parent, if I’m dropping my children at school for 8.50am, due to the distance that I live from the corporate office, I would be lucky to be in there by 10.30am, however I live only a 5 minute walk from school, so I can comfortably drop the children off and be back at my home office ready to start work at 9am. Fortunately Yorktel, by the very nature of our business is more than equipped to enable me to work just as effectively from home, or anywhere with an internet connection, as I can from the office.
In my case this goes one step further in that without this flexibility, I would be unable to work for Yorktel. This isn’t just because of integrating my parental and working responsibilities, but because of the distance from my home to the corporate office. If I had to travel this distance every day I would have at the very least 13 hours away from the house each day with a minimum of 4 hours driving. This is totally doable once a week, but every day could not be sustained, never mind the fact that I wouldn’t even see my children awake during the working week!
For several years now, in the UK, all employees, not just parents, have been able to request “Flexible Working” from their employers. For some people this is about the hours and days that they are to work, for others it’s the location, but for most it’s a combination of both with the added need for flexibility. “Work” is no longer just a place we go to, but an activity not necessarily confined to a time or place.