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Employers! Show us your flex appeal

Returners. We all know what it means, right? Women returning to work (or not) after a career break to have a baby.

But what if women didn’t have to Return with a capital R? What would happen if they never really went away, and were able to work flexibly around motherhood?

That’s what we want to see, and, judging by our recent research, you do too.

In our survey of #MummyJobbers, we discovered that 56% of women returned to work after having a baby, and 44% stayed at home. However, of this 44%, only 19% actively wanted to stay at home – the rest felt unable to return to the workplace for a number of reasons.

And guess what? The main reason mums feel unable to return to work is the lack of flexibility. Nearly half of the mums we asked cited this as a reason, with a further 23% saying that the price of childcare put them off. With childcare costs rising faster than wages, in a lot of cases it is simply not worth working – financially, at least.

Of the women who returned to work, we were shocked that only 10% told us they were happy with their return. Again, lack of flexibility was the issue – 39% per cent wished their employer had been more flexible.

Here at MummyJobs, we don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that women are being forced out of the workplace by the lack of flexibility, to return when their circumstances change – when their children go to school, for example.

So we asked our mums what type of flexible working would have suited them best, and enabled them to return to work after standard maternity leave. Most (34%) wanted flexible start and finish times, 24% per cent each wanted the option to work from home or to work part-time, and 14% would have liked to work term-time only.

We truly believe that moving to a more flexible workplace benefits everyone. Time and time again, research has shown that workers are more productive and motivated when allowed to choose their own hours. With so much technology at our fingertips, we should be able to see a world beyond the 9-5 culture that so many businesses are fixated on.

It’s time to stop the narrow-minded focus on ‘returners’ and instead look at how we can make employment work better for everyone, so no one has to go anywhere.

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