Work That Works, Digital Mums campaign for flexible working

Work That Works, Digital Mums campaign for flexible working

Before I left for Paris I was working for a big transport company in London. I had a good job, a job that was challenging and rewarding, it paid well and was part-time, because of flexible working.

The set up worked because I job-shared. It was a win-win for us and the company. The company got two highly experienced professionals, between us we had around 3o years’ experience, and I had a job, and time to be with the kids.

I find it really depressing when I read statistics that say that 60 per cent of mothers living with children under 18, do not have access to flexible working. It’s two years since legislation was introduced giving parents the right to ask for flexible working.

This is why I am shouting out about the Digital Mums campaign #WorkThatWorks. The campaign highlights the lack of flexible working options for mums.

If you have a moment, check out their report. Even better, give it to your employer!

Flexible working worked for us

After we adopted our two kids, King of the Mountains and I decided to work flexibly, working part-time, so we could focus on our new family without compromising our careers. And thankfully, we had forward thinking companies that allowed us to do that.

While I took a break from contracting, King of the Mountains, took three months’ adoption leave, then returned to work four days a week. He did this for about a year.

After a year, when my adoption leave was over, I went back into the work, three days a week.

I didn’t go back to contracting. That does not work around kids. To be a successful contractor you have to be ready to pick up a contract straight away, and work five days a week. That wasn’t going to be a flexible option.

A previous employer got in touch, and I secured a good part-time role, eventually job-sharing a full-time post with another mum who wanted to return to work part-time.

It worked well, a well paid, fulfilling job and I got to spend time with the kids: swimming lessons, play-dates, picking up the kids after school and going to the park to hang out with friends. (Those things are important in a kid’s life.)

Flexible working worked for us, and it worked for our employers.

Now that I am in Paris, I’m on a sabbatical while King of the Mountains has a job here.

Me,  I’m taking time out to look after children. But that’s two years out of the job market. And when we return, I’ll have to go back to work.

Funnily enough I want work that will fit around my kids.  Just because my kids are older doesn’t mean they don’t need me.

According to the Digital Mums’  report: “Research found that over three-fifths of respondents (64%) felt that their skills and experience had been compromised in some way in order to find a flexible job that fitted around childcare.”

Work That Works campaign

Maternal unemployment is real.

According to Digital Mums:

  • Currently, some 2.6 million mothers are out of the labour force, classifying themselves as stay-at-home mums (SAHMs)
  • While for some of these mothers, staying at home is a choice, our research suggests that a much larger number would like to have the option to go back to work but feel their hands are tied because of a lack of flexible working options
  • Almost 7 in 10 (68 per cent) SAHMs living with children aged 18 and under said they would go back to work in some capacity if flexible working around childcare was an option

As part of the campaign, Digital Mums has launched the #WorkThatWorks Movement, calling all businesses to support flexible working. And if they don’t, well look who’s missing out on talent.



Picture credit: Digital Mums, Work That Works Report

Digital Mums know mums can be social media super stars!

Digital Mums, is a social enterprise co-founded by mums, Kathryn Tyler and Nikki Cochrane. Digital Mums trains mums  to be freelance social media managers, kickstarting a new career so they can work around their family commitments. Let’s face it jobs don’t have to be 9-5 anymore.

I think I will be giving Digital Mums a call when I get back to the UK!

Photo credit,Daniel X O’Neil, courtesy of Flickr

A Mum Track Mind
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  1. October 7, 2016 / 7:18 am

    This is so important and more definitely needs to be done to get more Mothers back in the work place after having a child. I think that more and more companies are offering flexible working, which is great. However I think that more needs to be done to improve skill set, making sure that Mothers are offered the same rights for promotion and pay rises. I went back to work three months ago, it’s hard, my company offers flexible working but I still feel that it has a long way to go in terms of support for mothers returning to work and making sure that they know their career or opportunities aren’t compromised. The working Mums campaign is excellent, as are digital mum. Thanks so much for sharing this at #fortheloveofBLOG. Claire x

    • Tooting Mama
      October 7, 2016 / 9:59 pm

      You are so right. If you have been out of work its easy to loose your confidence, but mums returning to the workplace have a long career history and experience which has to be a bonus to any employer. I find a lot of mums decide to let their careers stagnate while they juggle work and family life which isn’t fair at all. Much more can be done.

  2. October 5, 2016 / 8:20 pm

    This sounds great. In some ways it feels like we’re getting less flexible in this modern day. With the technology we have and the way life is 24/7, flexible working should be so easy to accommodate. But even though I have been able to work part time, it’s still tough when illness strikes. I feel even more conscious when I am absent because my daughter is ill. I feel society also needs to re-embrace children as well as so people don’t keep quiet about them at work!
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    • Tooting Mama
      October 5, 2016 / 8:56 pm

      It’s not easy being a working mum, guilt everywhere you look. It’s tough, stand proud, and if you have to take time of for your kids – that’s the number 1. Work can wait!

  3. October 5, 2016 / 6:51 pm

    This resonates with me at the moment. I’m a stay at home mum not out of choice but due to a low paid job that didn’t cover the childcare. Hubby has the potential (and does) earn a lot more but in order for him to do that he needs to travel for work, often at a moments notice. Although my employers were flexible they couldn’t accommodate school/nursery hours only. Now I’m in the process of thinking of ideas of what to do when both my girls are at school. I feel like my brain is going mushy without the stimulation of work.
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    • Tooting Mama
      October 5, 2016 / 8:53 pm

      This is so true for many mums. Childcare is so expensive it can prohibit working, and if you can work, then your employer is less than understanding. Have a think about Digital Mums – it sounds like an awesome programme.

  4. October 5, 2016 / 1:14 pm

    So great you could both work flexibly at first. I’m astounded more companies (like the one I used to work for. Recruitment. The city. It was never going to happen) don’t offer more flexibility. You would think blackberries, Skype, FaceTime, google hangouts etc would make working flexibly easier, but in fact I think it’s made some companies want even more flesh per pound, as they can just ask more and more of their full time employees rather than be creative with part timers. And the governments solution seems to be focused on childcare, they seem to think we should all want to have cheap childcare 5 days a week. I for one, don’t want my kids in nursery full time, I want to enjoy them AND have a career. Revolutionary, I know!! I hope it is sorted out for our kids generation #workthatworks #bloggerclubuk

    • Tooting Mama
      October 5, 2016 / 3:48 pm

      We seem to be so unimaginative. There is no reason why someone can’t work part-time, have time with their children, and have a fulfilling and well paid career. So many part-time jobs aimed at mums are shockingly underpaid. It makes working not a worthwhile option. I guess us women are asking for too much again!

    • Tooting Mama
      October 5, 2016 / 6:32 am

      Thank you!

  5. October 4, 2016 / 10:15 am

    This is an excellent iniative. I agree that there has to be more flexibility for moms wanting to return to work. There is great pressure to raise children to be good adults and yet there is no allowance to the fact that we need to spend time with them to ensure that their needs are met. I will be checking Digital Mums out. THanks for sharing with #bigpinklink

    • Tooting Mama
      October 4, 2016 / 1:44 pm

      You are so right. I really love this initiative, I’m going to be messaging Digital Mums when I get back to the UK.

  6. October 4, 2016 / 9:54 am

    There still is a lot of work to be done to get great women great jobs that are flexible and understanding. It’s rough when it really shouldn’t be. #twinklytuesday

    • Tooting Mama
      October 4, 2016 / 1:43 pm

      Absolutely, and getting more women into top jobs!

  7. October 3, 2016 / 9:17 pm

    The system needs to catch up with modern life. Many people don’t need to work a 9-5 or be in an office when so much can be done online, but most of these eligible people still seem to be expected to follow the traditional 9-5 pattern. I’m interested to see what will change, although for me I’m a teacher so have to be there during school hours. Not much flexibility there! #FabFridayPost
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    • Tooting Mama
      October 4, 2016 / 1:42 pm

      I hear there’s a teaching crisis, and maybe offering for flexible work options might encourage teachers back into the profession. But you are right, many people don’t need to be in an office from 9 – 5, but working culture hasn’t quite got to grips with that yet.

  8. October 3, 2016 / 6:11 pm

    This is such an important topic – I know so many women who would love to work but feel like they can’t because they can’t find an employer who allows flexible working. My employer was flexible-ish when I returned from maternity leave – I wanted 3-4 days a week and I got 4.5, but at least I can flex my hours so I can leave early enough to pick up my daughter from nursery. It’s far from ideal, but I’m luckier than most. #bigpinklink
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    • Tooting Mama
      October 3, 2016 / 6:59 pm

      Hey like you said you got some flex, it’s better than nothing. I just wish employers would wise up and realise that you’d commit longer if flexible working was part of the culture. It’s a discrimination that has yet to be addressed fully!

  9. Baby Anon
    October 3, 2016 / 12:31 pm

    I had to read this as I am a big supporter of flexible working and am working on embedding this in the culture where I am. After I had my bubs, I reduced my days from 5 – 4 with one day at home and just this morning my colleague remarked that he hadn’t noticed (in a good way). I believe that flexible working should be promoted and extended to everyone because Life/Work balance is more important than Work/Life balance – and the next generation don’t want to work like we have done traditionally #bigpinklink

    • Tooting Mama
      October 3, 2016 / 12:40 pm

      Hey good for you! Flexible working just needs to be part of everyday work culture. We have a culture of presentee-ism, which is just so wasteful. It really is about life balance – just wish more companies would walk the talk!

  10. October 3, 2016 / 10:30 am

    It’s a great campaign but how sad that it’s necessary right? I went back FT after my first child then my company begrudgingly agreed to 4 days (same workload) after I returned from my second mat leave. I constantly felt like I was stressed out and made to feel bad if I needed to pick one of the kids up from nursery for being ill or take a day off with them. After 6 months I was so miserable I decided to leave to become a SAHM. Luckily I absolutely loved it and have no regrets but of course leaving the workplace permanently means starting from scratch when I do decide to go back to work. Working from home (or the option to) would be an ideal solution for so many families and businesses. Digital Mums sounds amazing, thanks for sharing this info x #bigpinklink
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    • Tooting Mama
      October 3, 2016 / 12:38 pm

      You are so right. It’s sad that it is necessary.

      I hate the way mums are made to feel when they work and look after kids. So you drop your kids off at school, turn up at 10am – you’ve probably been up since six getting kids ready for school – it’s not an easy option.

      I’m so happy for you that the SAHM worked out and you love it. The sad reality is when you’ve been a SAHM and want to return to work it’s a case of starting over – sad but true, and not fair at all! I think a programme like Digital Mums just recognises that mums have so much to offer! Yay to Digital Mums!

    • Tooting Mama
      October 3, 2016 / 9:06 am

      Thank you thanks for your fab comment!

  11. October 2, 2016 / 9:05 pm

    I’m so on board with the importance of flexible working. My employer is great but I know other mums returning to work who really have to battle for what they need – it’s a terrible culture and doesn’t offer much of an incentive to some who really really want to get back to the workplace. Thanks so much for linking up at #KCACOLS. Hope you come back again next Sunday.
    Mouse, Moo and Me Too recently posted…#MouseMooMeToo Cowprints – 2nd October 2016My Profile

    • Tooting Mama
      October 3, 2016 / 9:06 am

      I have heard way too many stories of mums pushed out of work because they’ve had kids. Flexible working is a right, it’s a shame companies can be so short sighted. Mums have so much to offer!

  12. Dean of Little Steps
    October 2, 2016 / 8:02 pm

    What a fab campaign! I used to work in a company that had flexi hours for their employees too. Was single then, so it didn’t make much of a difference to me. I’m also hoping to find a job that has flexible hours when T is a bit older 🙂

    • Tooting Mama
      October 3, 2016 / 9:04 am

      It’s makes such a difference having a flexible working package. Don’t be afraid to ask for it!

  13. October 2, 2016 / 7:50 pm

    I’m lucky that my job can be flexible (ish) when I return but I know many people have had to leave work because their employers aren’t flexible. My friend recently completed the digital mums course and it seems like a great idea! #KCACOLS

    • Tooting Mama
      October 3, 2016 / 12:32 pm

      I think Digital Mums sounds like a fab programme, I’m keeping my eye on them for when I return to the UK.

    • Tooting Mama
      October 2, 2016 / 8:01 pm

      You are super lucky – but hey if things don’t work out you have options!

  14. October 2, 2016 / 5:35 pm

    Digital Mums sounds great and is definitely something I would look into, but I’m lucky that my company are very flexible when it comes to parental leave. Jo x
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    • Tooting Mama
      October 2, 2016 / 8:00 pm

      I think the company and the campaign are brilliant, they’ve really done some thinking as to what could work for mums who want to work but don’t have the option of flexible working. Way to many mums end up giving up work because they can’t make work work!

    • Tooting Mama
      October 2, 2016 / 7:57 pm

      I think flexible working is hugely important, it keeps a whole slice of the population in work. I know plenty of mums who have had really good jobs who have had to compromise their careers, they haven’t had the options or the support from their employers.

  15. October 2, 2016 / 8:38 am

    It’s great campaign! I know that I would like to stay with my boy but I can’t:( it’s making me sad because he will be almost 9 month and probably I will miss his first word, step etc.

    • Tooting Mama
      October 2, 2016 / 7:54 pm

      It’s so hard, we have bill to pay which means we need to work, but if employers could be a bit more creative, adopted flexible working practices, then mums could and can manage a career and home life. Seriously why not?!

  16. October 2, 2016 / 8:03 am

    I took voluntary redundancy when pregnant with our second as even though they said they offer flexible working it was up to the individual mangers and our manager made it clear he thought you should be in the office five days a week. The best option for our family was to walk away and start fresh. I set up my own business and now have that alongside my freelance writing career. My sister has also joined my business as a partner so she gets to work flexibly around her kids too
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    • Tooting Mama
      October 2, 2016 / 7:52 pm

      Hey you made the situation work for you and that’s brilliant – well done!

  17. Flying Solo
    October 2, 2016 / 7:55 am

    This is a great post. I tarted my own business 11 years ago, but had a high street office so was tied to full time 9-5 plus evenings and weekends. I got rid of the office and worked from home, taking a huge risk but didn’t lose any business and in fact gained more and was at home with my children and got more done and felt a greater sense of wellbeing. Big companies could save thousands in overheads if they let people work from home more, although I guess there would be plenty that would abuse it. #KCACOLS

    • Tooting Mama
      October 2, 2016 / 7:51 pm

      Wow! That’s fab, you took the risk and it paid off. I think companies are really risk averse, to be honest if you get the work done, does it matter when you do it! Companies could save zillions on overheads to let people work from home, it just takes some guts!

  18. October 1, 2016 / 6:03 pm

    I’m really lucky with my employer. They have a really good flexible working policy (I work school hours) and I can take up to 4 weeks parental leave (unpaid leave) a year in addition to my annual leave – that covers all the school holidays!

    • Tooting Mama
      October 2, 2016 / 7:47 pm

      That is so brilliant – you’re a minority! So glad it’s working out, why can’t other companies that forward thinking!

  19. October 1, 2016 / 3:17 pm

    What an interesting post and a great campaign. I left my career 12 years ago after my daughter was born because my employer wouldn’t agree to flexible working – it wasn’t really a thing back then, but still i was a director so hoped they might consider it. It’s wonderful that so many companies do offer it but of course there are lots of mums wanting those flexible contracts. #fortheloveofBLOG
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    • Tooting Mama
      October 2, 2016 / 7:46 pm

      I think we still have a long way to go to change perception that flexible working is a lesser type of working. There just aren’t enough companies that are forward thinking enough to offer flexible working and realise that they’ll retain talent! So sad that your company didn’t have the foresight to hang on to you! Hope you doing well now.

  20. yvonne
    October 1, 2016 / 9:23 am

    Very timely post as I head back to the UK in a few months. I won’t have a job and I desperately want to find something that is flexible around the kids. thanks for this #fabfridaypost
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    • Tooting Mama
      October 1, 2016 / 10:46 am

      That’s super, just wish that was standard for everyone. Seriously why can’t it be?

  21. October 1, 2016 / 8:03 am

    So true, the financial pressure on families with children due to childcare costs and lack of part time / fkexible work definitely needs to be addressed in Ireland. It sounds like the UK are at least trying to make things easier. Although the stats are alarming. Enjoy Paris, such a great experience there for the children too. #ForTheLoveOfBLOG
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    • Tooting Mama
      October 1, 2016 / 10:44 am

      Thank you. childcare in the UK is pretty crippling, and the attitude of some employers really needs to change to make work a viable option for mums.

      Paris is going very well – thanks, we’re all having fun here!

  22. October 1, 2016 / 7:39 am

    It’s a great campaign . In this day and age so many people could work from home – employers should offer it as standard , it brings cost savings for them too and happy employees equal productive employees ! #fortheloveofblog

    • Tooting Mama
      October 1, 2016 / 10:45 am

      I completely agree, WFH should be a standard package. I always got more done at home!

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