All we want for Christmas is…Decent Flexible Working

This time of year can be special but many parents will also find it stressful. With all the parties, present buying, nativities, and carolling…all we want from the man in red is a break!

But the pressures of the season are real – financially and flexibly. Here are the top five things that parents want (or need) to survive Christmas. 

Flexibility At Work

No time of year has higher demands on our time than Christmas. But leaving the office early to make it to little Lewis’s nativity play or taking a long lunch to pop out to grab that forgotten auntie’s gift shouldn’t be an issue with performance-based working. The benefits of this way of working are clear. Staff should be trusted with their own time and, as long as their work is done, they can work flexibly.  But unfortunately, many companies haven’t kept up with the demand and employees – especially parents – are the ones who suffer. This is a gift many of us would love to see under the tree. 

More Days Off 

Many companies require staff to use precious annual leave for Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. No matter who much annual leave we’re given, it never seems enough. And, if we have to use these days for childcare or attending our children’s festive events, it doesn’t seem like a ‘day off’ at all. If parents are not given a nice performance-based way of working, then at least give us more annual leave!

Higher Wages

We’re in the middle of a cost-of-living crisis which has been exacerbated by rising energy bills – this combined has put unprecedented pressure on parents. According to charity, Action for Children, the rising prices are overwhelming families, and many are struggling to meet the basic needs of their children. With so many parents now cutting their budgets and even skipping meals to provide for their children, it’s no surprise that more and more will be opting for a scaled back Christmas this year. The charity revealed that around 19% of households with children are in serious financial difficulties. Higher wages and lower household costs are high up every parent’s Santa list. 

Bonuses Staff Actually Need

Pizza Thursdays and Dress Down Fridays are all lovely but few employees would choose these perks over a cash bonus, more holidays or increased flexibility. It’s no secret that the financial pressures are huge on parents so a cash bonus or wage increase would be much more appreciated to many families than a token ‘fun’ day at work. 

Understanding

Christmas should be a time for peace and love…and understanding. If employers took the time to really understand the pressures of parents today and realise the need for flexibility, it would go a long way to a much happier workforce and a prosperous 2024.

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