She spoke eloquently about her plight. She has a full-time desk job – with a desk phone and a desktop computer.
She has to be in the office to fulfil her role. She’s now on a trial flexible working programme which allows her to do the exact same job but fit it around her family commitments.
The net result will be a happier home life, a more focused employee and most likely better productivity.
Change to culture
Cultural change is at the centre of our organisation-wide transformation programme, which will introduce and embed smarter ways of working.
We hope to transition to an environment where adaptable, bold and curious behaviours are the norm and empowerment is encouraged and utilised.
The ability to work when needed and to care when needed. Mums (and dads) can come in and leave at slightly different times and pick up work when it’s more suitable.
The result will be a reduction in the guilt mothers feel about not being able to do everything.
Because with a little flexibility and trust from employers, they will.
If we don’t? Well, as life gets faster and faster, and with more and more parents choosing or needing to work, it will have a detrimental affect us all – businesses and individuals alike.
The statistics tell us this already. Many parents already report that work negatively impacts on their family life.
Nearly half say work affects their ability to spend time together as a whole family, while 46 per cent say work prevents them from seeing their children often or all the time. This cannot go on.
While the challenge of supporting mothers and all working parents isn’t a new topic, it’s perhaps one of the biggest challenges facing business in the UK and it’s only going to get more pressing as more parents enter the workforce.
For the sake of business efficiency; for the sake of parents’ sanity; for the sake of reducing guilt among working mothers; for all these reasons and a thousand more we need to ensure the workplace is set up for mothers, fathers, grandparents and, of course, children.
Because one day, they’ll be walking through those office doors too.
Alexandra Walters is head of policy at Companies House