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Shared Parental Leave

Shared Parental Leave, It's potential value to flexible working

It’s Potential Value To Flexible Working

How Many Even Know What Shared Parental Leave Is? 

How many know how to find out more information about Shared Parental Leave? 

Does it even work for people? 

How many have experienced it?

Around 285,000 couples every year qualify for Shared Parental Leave, but it is estimated that take up could be as low as 2% in the UK. Why is uptake so low and what benefits are there to better uptake?

With Childcare options in the UK being known as incredibly expensive could SPL be the first step to alleviating this pressure?

Why Aren’t People Taking Shared Parental Leave?

What is stopping parents from using Shared Parental Leave?:

  • Lack of awareness of it’s very existence from both parents to be and organisations!
  • Maternity / paternity Leave policies that need updating which will prompt discussion.
  • The lack of enhanced paternity pay available. Many fathers are stuck with the statutory rate (currently £140.98). While mothers on maternity pay often benefit from their employer’s more generous package (enhanced maternity pay). 
  • Fear of the impact taking extended leave above the ‘traditional’ 2 weeks will have on one’s career. We need to move away from the fact that taking a break, be it maternity / paternity / career break does not mean a sudden loss of experience, skills or enthusiasm. It means that for a period of time one wants to allow their focus to change without work suffering.

Better Shared Parental Leave Uptake Equals…

We believe that better awareness will lead to better uptake and a whole host of other benefits to workers and organisations.

Better uptake could contribute towards:

  • Closing the gender pay gap. Improving SPL makes it more attractive and realistic for men. This means more women are able to continue in careers and pursue senior higher paid roles. If we want an equal society then we must allow fathers to have the same access to paternity leave that mothers have.
  • Better parental mental health. SPL can allow people to better manage family and work commitments, thus leading to better mental health. After all, those early days can be incredibly hard. The option to have both parents off at the same time could make all the difference to mental health.
  • Better recruitment and retention of talented employees. Attractive SPL packages, beyond the statutory pay will lead to attracting talent from a wider pool of possible recruits. It also means that employees are more likely to return and stay following maternity / paternity leave. Shared Parental Leave Campaign UK

What You Need To Know About Shared Parental Leave

  • You and your partner may be able to get Shared Parental Leave (SPL) and Statutory Shared Parental Pay (ShPP) if you’re having a baby or adopting a child.
  • One can share up to 50 weeks of leave and up to 37 weeks of pay between you.
  • Share the pay and leave in the first year after your child is born or placed with your family.
  • You can use SPL to take leave in blocks separated by periods of work. Or take it all in one go. 
  • Choose to be off work together or stagger the leave and pay.

Providing truly flexible employment options is a key part of the Industrial Strategy. The Industrial Strategy is the government’s long-term plan to build a Britain fit for the future by helping businesses create better, higher-paying jobs in every part of the UK. (Business Minister Andrew Griffiths).

Going One Step Further

Why not just have ‘Parental Leave’ with the same length of leave for both parents. Should parents have the same amount of statutory pay, regardless of which parent? The encouragement or better still enforcement that any enhanced pay is available regardless of which parent is taking the leave. We feel that Shared Parental Leave has the potential to add great value to flexible working initiatives. But does need some changes in order to be of value.

Stay tuned to see what our surveyed audience said! 

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11 Easy Ways To A Positive Mind

11 Easy ways to a positive mind, stressed to calm

What to do when it all gets a bit too much.

Our hectic lives can sometimes leave us feeling pretty flat and exhausted. This has a knock on effect on our family and working lives. In 2017/18 stress, depression or anxiety accounted for 44% of all work-related ill health cases and 57% of all working days lost due to ill health (Work related stress depression or anxiety statistics in Great Britain, 2018). Parents are particularly good at neglecting themselves. Of course we believe flexible working options could go a long way to helping reduce these figures. When you feel low, achieving a positive mind can seem pretty difficult. But it can be done with the following easy steps.

Signs You May Be Running On Empty.

  • Tasks become overwhelming to the point where you ignore them. Sometimes even simple tasks become difficult.
  • You get headaches (of course there are many reasons for headaches but stress is one of them)
  • Eating a poor diet – motivation to eat mindfully and well just isn’t there but the takeaway number is! Chronic stress can lead to obesity or weight loss.
  • Getting all snappy and shouty at the kids for no real good reason.
  • Constant guilt and worrying, about everything.
  • Lack of focus
  • Gastrointestinal problems
  • Palpitations

Source: NHS Website

How do you switch from a negative state of mind to a positive one?

Here are a few simple things which could help you on your way.  

#1 STOP and BREATHE

In a stressful moment, when things seem like they are getting out of control, step away. Stop and breathe, breathe from deep down at the bottom of your lungs. Sometimes all you need is that few long deep breaths to refocus and judge the situation for what it is.

#2 Be Realistic

Ask yourself ‘can I change this problem?’, ‘Is it my job/position/role to solve this problem?’, ‘Is there an actual answer?’. If the answer is ‘no’, then don’t waste your energy trying. Some things can be solved with time and effort but others simply can’t.

“Sometimes all we can do is surf the wave until we reach the shore, where we can walk forward once more.”

Focus your thoughts and energy on the here and now. Let’s face it, energy is in short supply when you have a young family. Focus on what you can do, not what you can’t and you will be well on your way to achieving a positive mind.

#3 Use Positive Affirmations

Nothing beats some positive affirmations or positivity quotes. Speak it and you will believe it. Why not put up some positive quotes around the house in frames, make them a piece of art.

#4 Take Some Time Out

As much as we love our family and friends we all need some time out. This may just be an hour away or maybe a night or two away. It may be on your own, with your OH or friends. We certainly all need some guilt free down time, for our mental and physical wellbeing. Honestly, you are allowed!

#5 Go For A Walk

Going for a walk can do wonders in achieving that positive mindset. Firstly, the fresh air, the green and gold of nature. Secondly the exercise. No work, pots or washing in sight. Check out these bloggers favourite days out for some inspiration. Unsurprisingly, the outdoors topped the list.

#6 Down Tools, Write A List

You’re rushing around, therefore losing focus and direction. Everything needs doing – NOW! But, it doesn’t. Stop what you are doing and write a list. Prioritise, what needs doing today and what can wait. It’s actually quite cathartic to tick things off a list. Can any of the tasks be simplified. For example online shopping, a quick call instead of a lengthy email?

If you find it difficult getting to sleep at night because you are worrying about things you need to do then write it all down in a list. Then put it down, read a book or watch a bit of Netflix and go to bed knowing that you have prioritised tasks for the next day.

#7 Speak To Friends

Sometimes you just have to unload with good friends. Friends don’t need to have the solution, just a pair of ears to listen and pair of arms for a hug! Sometimes just talking about issues out loud can lighten the load so much. Thus often putting things into perspective. Don’t let mum guilt get in the way of you taking a little time out to see friends.

#8 Read

Reading can really help you to unwind. Yes there may still be a full basket of washing needing doing or a toddler that may wake any second but this is your time, the washing can wait and the toddler might not actually wake.

#9 Craft

Sometimes the focus needed to do craft can take your mind off whatever it is bothering you. Maybe a bit of baking instead.

#10 Exercise Your Way To A Positive Mind

Exercise can drastically improve the health of your mind as well as your body. Therefore helping you to focus and see clearly. It helps you stay positive and be better at decision making. Once a week maybe enough to see these benefits. Of course if it’s weight loss you’re after that requires a bit more effort!

#11 There’s An App For That

Check out this list of apps, all aim to set you on your way to achieving a positive and healthy mind.

Do you have any ways to unwind, refocus or regain a positive mind? Do you suffer from letting everything get on top of you? Let us know in the comments.

On A More Serious Note #ItsOkNotToBeOk

For most of us, these steps may be enough to find our happy place again. However, for some more help is needed. Maybe you aren’t sleeping (and it’s not the kids fault) or constantly sleeping. Maybe you are shutting yourself off from loved ones. Perhaps the anger or snappiness is getting worse. Perspective doesn’t even come into the equation and you can’t explain why you feel like this. As a result you feel like your life is overshadowed by a dark looming cloud. Possibly leading to suicidal thoughts, feelings of self loathing and worthlessness…please, please if this is you…talk to someone, anyone.

#12 Get Help

A very important but sometimes difficult step to achieving a positive mind. You are not alone and there is help out there. Above all DON’T suffer in silence. TALK. Make sure you get the help you need and deserve.

Try these

Samaritans 116 123 (Free phone)

SANE 0300 304 7000 4.30pm – 10.30pm daily

MIND 0300 123 3393 9am – 6pm Monday – Friday

MIND 0300 123 5999 (BlueLight Service) 9am – 6pm Monday – Friday or Text 84999

For some other parenting relevant helplines see this list here

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Why At The FindYourFlex Group We Don’t Support MLM’s

MLMS Free Zone, Here's Why...

Our Stand Against (MLMs) Multi Level Marketing Schemes.

One of the last times I saw my university lecturer we were talking about what my plans were for the future. I outlined a strict timetable that included having a part time job, writing at the weekends and evenings, and somehow having a couple of kids who would slot neatly into this lifestyle. My lecturer tried to gently point out that this may be a hard schedule to stick to, at which I bristled. In my head, I told him that he was wrong, that I would manage. It wouldn’t be too much. I would it make it work.

After two babies, one broken-down house that we bought just before the housing crash and a now ex-partner with mental health problems; I realised what my lecturer was trying to tell me. Children are hard work. Life often gets much harder after having them. Don’t get me wrong, some people can manage to do everything they want, but I believe a great deal more struggle. Especially if you have added pressures: you are a single parent, you care for someone else with mental or physical difficulties, or you have your own ill health to cope with. And especially if you are also looking for a job.

This still is mostly true for women, as working mothers tend to end up being overworked and underpaid, often leaving full-time roles and taking on part-time work to cope with all of the roles they have to fulfil. On top of this, part-time, home-based or flexible work has an image problem it being seen as the ‘soft option’ and can make some feel like they have lost their status at work.

What does this have to do with MLMs?

Since starting work with The FindYourFlex Group (which own MummyJobs.co.uk), I joined a LOT of Facebook groups to post our jobs into. I quickly became aware of the amount of advertising of MLM ‘opportunities’ out there. Nearly every group for flexible/home-based work, have posts of people trying to recruit members to ‘join their team’. Posts asking people to work for ‘this amazing company, work when YOU want and make ££££!!!’. Many adverts had pictures of people working happily with a cup of tea, in a beautiful house, or with their family.

Since I was told that we didn’t allow MLM’s; I largely ignored the adverts. But researching the subject I’ve realised just how just how unscrupulous these companies can be to work for.

Not So Empowering Adverts

The vast majority of the adverts I have seen are posted by women, for women

and they language is aimed toward the ’empowering’. A few example from the groups: ‘Be your own boss!’ ‘Build your confidence and make new friends!’ ‘I can show you HOW and give you the TOOLS … . All you have to do is show up and do the ACTION’. My personal favourite: ‘All you need is WiFi and a dream!’

While it is tempting to dismiss these phoney adverts as ridiculous, as a new mum they can for some, feel like a lifeline. One study by video parenting site ChannelMum.com found that 90% of mums feel lonely after giving birth and 80% want more mum friends. This certainly was my experience. Add in the fact that mothers on lower incomes have less flexible work choices, and taking on longer hours will often mean childcare costs they can’t meet, you can see that a home-based job that seems easy, can be very attractive.

Adverts like this, and the women posting them, are pushing the right buttons. They are aimed at people desperate to make money. They promote their ads in a way that will mean parents can balance children and work. However, it sounds too good to be true, because it is. MLM’s are not truly supportive of family life, they exist to make money of the people who sign up.

Self Employed Vs Employed

Let me give you an example: a friend of mine (let’s call her Hannah) worked for Anne Summers. I say ‘worked for’, but that is not strictly speaking true. MLMs work on the basis that people who sell for them are self-employed, and therefore not entitled to basic employment rights, like sick or holiday pay, or indeed a minimum wage. Anyway, Hannah became a ‘Party Organiser’ and quickly worked her way up to become a ‘Unit Organiser’. Not by selling, but by recruiting other people to sell under her.

MLMs work on the structure of ‘the more people you recruit under you and the more they recruit, the more it adds to your sales’. Recruits are known as ‘downline distributors’, as you take a percentage from their orders from the MLM. So you get paid for other people’s hard work. At first it went OK, the parties were fun, especially if you held one in a pub. Hannah tells me that at one such party she sold around £800 worth of stock. She even went part-time from her other job to concentrate on the parties. But these good days did not outweigh the bad. She admits too often having a drink after working, which would cut into her profits. At many parties, people were late, or not many (if any) turned up.

“My heart would sink if I turned up to someone’s house [to run a party], and only three people were there”, she says.

She told me that she went to a monthly company event in which her achievements were recognised. But, when she (rightly) said her sales targets were down, to the organisers under her, she was meet by some frosty stares from the other, more senior ‘Unit Organisers’. In this meeting, the organisers were not reimbursed for expenses — they had to cover their own travel and food/drink costs. MLMs offer no real work benefits, no expenses for work related costs, no sick or maternity pay, and no real flexibility. To make money you must be working all the time.

“Did you make any money?” I asked. “No, but you got badges! That kept you going”, she replied.

Turns out that she would get a badge if she hit a target. Badges such as a Love Potion badge, or a Rampant Rabbit badge, which moved her up the ladder. Many MLMs have some form of bogus ‘progression’ system, and have different ways of marking it.

Hitting Targets

However, it doesn’t mean by hitting the targets you would see any profit. Hannah certainly didn’t. She had to pay off the cost of her starter kit (£500 in 2003). The money she gave towards that, which was roughly £35 a month, would be counted towards her target. So, it would look like she was selling more that she was. Also a lot of her money was going on new stock, so she could keep up with orders. So really, she was just buying a lot. And not selling much.

From Hannah’s experience and reading up on these organisations, it seems that their rules on how they operate are often complicated. They are seemingly never fully understood. Hannah herself didn’t realise that when she left the company, her starter kit would have to be sent back. Anything missing from the kit had to be replaced from her own pocket (including order forms). She had told the people she recruited under her the contrary.

“I didn’t understand”, she tells me. “My Unit Organiser never told me. Either she didn’t know herself, or she deliberately decided to not tell me.”

Hannah finally left after having two miscarriages close together which she, naturally had to take time off for. Her parties were still covered by other organisers. But even though she set them up, she didn’t see any profit from them. After her second miscarriage, her Area Manager was so unsympathetic and angry with her for missing her sales. She decided to leave.

The appeal of joining MLMs is they seem completely reasonable to begin with — why not sell a few nice things on the side, in your own time? But the hard truth is that the time you put into it to make it work can be far more than the rewards you reap.

Add children into the mix, with all their emotional and practical needs, it soon becomes very hard indeed. You can make the analogy between this and dieting; how many times have you told yourself that you’ll only drink lemon water for breakfast for a whole month, only to steal the kids’ toast on Day Two? This isn’t to put down people’s hard-earned achievements with actual businesses or indeed losing weight, but that MLM systems are largely totally unrealistic. Wouldn’t you rather you made money for the work you have done yourself and not off the back of other desperate people, that ultimately only really pays for a few fat cats right at the top of the upline?

This Is Our Stand Against MLMs

Here at Find Your Flex, we want to change the status quo and help people have a better balance to their lives, by asking for flexible work and to push for employers to offer it. We believe that MLMs merely exploit desperate people, rather than offer a better alternative. People who work part-time are efficient, loyal and hard working — they are a great underused resource.

Why not set up your own business or get a PAYE job — there are flexible jobs and flexible working recruitment agencies out there! Our aim is to bring them all in to one place right here on our jobs board.

MLMs target the most vulnerable. These people deserve a chance to have a good job with basic rights. Just because they don’t work eight hours a day in an office doesn’t mean they should be penalised when trying to make some money. They are already working hard. This is our stand against MLMs.

Author: Kizzy Hamilton, Marketing Team at The Find Your Flex Group.

Read More: 9 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Join A MLMs

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The Great Baby And Career Balancing Act

Mum holding up child in sea with sunset

How I Balanced A Baby And A Career

Guest Post By Lyndsey Shankland

As a businesswoman, my whole adult life was dedicated to my career in recruitment. I loved it! Balancing a baby and a career hadn’t been on the agenda. My true passion was my career, my reason for being, and everything else could wait.

But that all changed when I turned 38. Cupid’s arrow struck. Now generally speaking, I’m not someone to jump straight in, but this was it. By the age of 39 I was married. I became a new mother just three weeks after my 41st birthday.

Yep, I might be a slow starter when it comes to having a family of my own. However, when it’s right, it’s right!

I had real problems getting my head around the concept of taking six months off work. I mean, who was going to lead my projects, partner with my stakeholders, source new candidates and help keep those business wheels turning? How would I balance a baby and a career?

Even with years of experience working in American businesses globally and in regional roles, with responsibility for leading teams across EMEA, APAC and AMER I worried.  Would I be cast aside now I was a mother with other priorities was never far from my mind?

With so many women finding themselves ‘surplus to requirements’ and facing redundancy after returning from maternity leave, the days with my newborn were tainted with worry.

And sadly, my worries weren’t unfounded

The Return To Work… Or Not!

I enjoyed six blissful months of maternity leave with my little Oliver. Then on my first day back at work I was hit with a huge bombshell. My role was being relocated to the US. There was absolutely no way I could move.

Not only did I have my husband and son to think about, but my mum has young on-set vascular dementia and needs me more now than ever.

I went through a storm of emotions as I struggled to come to terms with the ‘loss’ of the job I loved. I’d always been the stronger partner in a financial sense. So worries about the mortgage, bills, other financial commitments, an unwell mother and a new baby caused a lot of anxiety.

How was I going to set myself apart from other job seekers in an already saturated market? For anyone who’s ever had an insight into the recruitment industry, you’ll know that recruiters are like gremlins – put a little water on us and we multiply!

How was I going to compete with these bright young things that didn’t have the commitments and family priorities I did?

Taking Back Control

So, I had two choices. Either put on my dressing gown and drown my sorrows in a family-sized tub of Ben and Jerry’s, or get proactive.

I took the latter option. I took control of the situation with the life-changing decision to start my own business.

After all, I had 18 years experience as an in-house head of talent acquisition. I have seen the good, bad and ugly of the recruitment world first hand. So why should I end up on the career scrap heap just because I had a child?

I considered my goals and formed my plan of action. I wanted to be a good recruiter of course, but I also wanted to be a good wife, daughter and mother.

Flexibility Is Key

For my plan to succeed, flexibility was central. Before I decided to start my own business, I was headhunted numerous times. I found however that employers were put off by my insistence on regular home office days and my need to balance a baby with a career.

So, I started out on my own with a business model of working with only a select number of clients in engineering and pharmaceutical markets, taking on just 2 or 3 at a time.

This allowed me to offer a higher quality, fully tailored recruitment service to both the global businesses I support and the talent I headhunt.

Clients And Cuddles

Fast forward to October this year. I’m working on four roles for two different clients. This doesn’t just ‘bring home the bacon’ as you’d say, it means I can fit in a cuddle with Oliver and hubby Iain. I can do so without feeling a crippling sense of guilt that I’m letting anyone down.

We have lunch together, and then I crack back on with the international calls. We’ve flown to a few places together already too: Dubai, Milan, Florence, Hamburg. We are due to visit the US in a couple of weeks. It’s living the dream of being able to keep the career I’ve worked hard to achieve AND feel like I can be a good wife and Mum too!

And it’s on MY terms

It’s still early days yet. Some days the struggle is real, trying to balance a baby and a career – but it’s on our terms as a family.

I’m still feeling really positive about the future.

I can’t say too much right now, but I’ll be taking on a new role towards the end of the year. This is with a business which values my skills. Skills that haven’t changed just because I’m a mother. They appreciate that I need some family time too. I’ve finally found a position that allows me to do the job I love and carry on with the most important roles of all – a mummy, a wife and a daughter.

Mum and baby birthday celebrations

My Advice To You

If you think you’re in the worst situation possible and about to lose your job, I’m living proof that you can regain control of your life. You can continue to follow your dreams without compromising on integrity or family commitments.

I still have to work very hard to keep all the plates spinning, but I’m enjoying it! My skills are still relevant and in demand even though I have a family. I am balancing a baby and a career!

And as a recruitment expert and mum, I should know!

Blog Post by Lyndsey Shankland

If you enjoyed reading this blog you may enjoy reading this blog

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Women In Construction…

Woman working in construction, hi vis jacket

Building Your Future

Women in construction – It’s a thing. It’s fair to say however that construction has long been thought of as a typical job for the boys. From Auf Weidersehen Pet to Bob The Builder, most representations of the industry have been very male-dominated. But, as Bob Dylan noted, “the times they are a changing”.

So what can a career in construction offer parents – and what can you offer it?

On The Up

The sector is growing. This is great news for parents looking for job security as their children grow up (and more become expensive).

Secure site accommodation and storage container firm Mobile Mini saw record results last year, along with a number of other key players. This is a direct result of renewed confidence in the building industry.

Down With The Kids

Kids love trucks, so imagine how impressed yours would be if you got to work with them all day long. Dawne McClelland is manager of Mobile Mini’s Teesside branch and has a six-year-old son. It’s a match made in heaven. She explains: “He loves anything vehicular so he likes the fact that Mummy manages two loader cranes.

“He’s been to the branch and been given a full tour around the trucks by our brilliant drivers. I definitely earn ‘cool mum’ points when I can talk technical details about our fantastic vehicles!”

Feel Inspired By Women In Construction

There’s no danger of you being the only woman on site. Latest figures show that 37 per cent of new entrants into the industry are female.

At Mobile Mini, a third (33%) of staff are female across all departments – and it’s easy to see why.

Georgina Arrand, a mother-of-two and branch manager at Mobile Mini’s Humberside site, says: “There are so many women in senior roles here and it’s great to have so many peers. We help and support one another through the challenges that we face.”

“Misconceptions about gender specific roles are decreasing, with more and more women in construction, from admin and sales, to drivers, yard workers and management.”

Share Your Skills

Both Dawne and Georgina recognise that there is a great deal of crossover in managing a team of staff and managing small people.

Georgina explains: “At work, we’ve had training in the Parent-Adult-Child model, which taught us more about emotional intelligence and how we bring out different facets of our personality in our interactions with different people.

“Obviously, that was something I learned at work, but I now use it at home too.

“It works both ways though – as parents we are great at multitasking and building relationships, which is crucial in this industry.”

Dawne agrees: “I feel I have more of a sense of perspective since becoming a parent – I’ve learnt not to sweat the small stuff, to just keep focussed on what is important and how it affects the bigger picture – and that’s something I put into practice at work too.”

Stay Flexible

We know flexibility and support during maternity leave is important to parents – and our mums in construction know it too.

Dawne explains: “I had regular Keep In Touch days after I had my son. This was great to help me gradually get used to being back full-time.
“And now I’m back, work is really good at letting me make the time up if we need to leave for sports days and special assemblies. So I don’t feel I miss out on the important events in my son’s life.”

If you’re thinking about being one of the growing number of women in construction and looking for a career with a difference, why not visit us?

For other ideas of industries to consider see our other blogs here

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An HR Journey with Pitney Bowes!

This Mum Can…

I have multiple jobs in my life, (1) mummy to two crazy, beautiful, boisterous boys (2) wife and general domestic goddess 😉 (3) career HR professional looking to change the world! Life is busy, my mind is busy. Lack of time frustrates me, yet I am determined to make it all work. Determined to make a difference.

The Juggling Act

This is all made possible with trust and empowerment, complete workplace autonomy from thought to working arrangements and amazing childcare. Me and the hubby manage nursery pick up and drop off, we don’t have family who can look after the kids, therefore having understanding childcare provision is so important to me.

Getting The Experience

Rewind back to 2003, studying for a degree in HR & Business. Not wanting to be one of those people who ‘just had a degree’, I set out to gain real life experience. Having worked in River Island and New Look in the evenings and at the weekend, I connected with retailers. I asked them to take me on for FREE in their HR team.

I was incredibly grateful to the HR Director, and the team at Faith Footwear Limited. They fully integrated me and gave me fabulous insights, projects and learning opportunities. You’ll be pleased to know that they did pay me too ;-).

From there I went to TUI for a short stint, until they closed their Greater London House office. Then I went to Sodexho. I worked under a superb manager who gave me huge learning opportunities to really find my feet.

The Move To Pitney Bowes

Starting to get more settled at home I made the move to Pitney Bowes. This was closer to home too. Fast forward 11 years and I’m still here. I work with a collaborative, exciting and dynamic leadership team. I’m proud to work with them. They embrace my crazy, quirky ideas and I’m part of their team. None of this exciting stuff would be possible without their engagement, and the support of others in the HR team. I partner closely with my Talent Acquisition partners who have joined me on this journey.

“At Pitney Bowes we recognise the importance of building a diverse and inclusive pipeline of talent. We’re a growing business, almost 100 years old, and we’re currently in the middle of an exciting transformation. Our people play a crucial part in this journey.”

What Do Pitney Bowes Offer?

I’m hugely excited and proud that in 2018 we launched a collection of Family Friendly roles. From a contingent workforce model, school hours, term time to job pairs. With every sales role that we have, we always consider each time – can we make this work differently? Every step of the way we are assessing the effectiveness of these roles, determining ways to engage the talent pool and tell them about our unique value proposition.

Along with our Family Friendly roles, we created our Charter, to help explain our commitment to this space:

“Family life is important. We get it. At Pitney Bowes we recognise the importance of balancing work and personal life. We offer fantastic career opportunities, flexibility, but most importantly, understanding.”

We welcome applications from those who want to be able to care of loved ones, older and younger, and those of the furry kind.  Not forgetting those who want to quit the 9-5 or those who just occasionally are able to connect with their work selves. So basically all those who want flexibility.

At the end of Q3 we will complete a formal review of these roles and the impact that they have had. We want to see the impact on our organisation, our teams and on the lives of those who we have been able to welcome in to the workplace. I’m passionate and I care. Therefore I cannot wait to see how this intervention transforms our employee experience.

Learn More About Pitney Bowes

If you’d like to learn more about who we are, our offering or simply network. Or maybe you want to understand how we can create the platform for more flexibility in the workplace get in touch! Drop me a line at: Angela.holland@pb.com

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Meet Clare: A working mum at Hastings Direct

I joined Hastings Direct Claims department in 1998 when it was a much smaller organisation. Despite the huge growth of the company in recent years, one thing that hasn’t changed is how well I’ve been looked after as a colleague at Hastings Direct.

My hours originally covered evenings as I had young children. As the children grew, my hours were able to grow too and I am so grateful for the understanding I’ve received to help me flex around my family. In 2012, I successfully applied to be a Team Leader on a full time basis.

I’ve always felt valued and respected by everyone around me. As well as flexing my working hours, I’ve had bereavement support and guidance with my career aspirations. Regardless of my need, I always know where and how I can get support.

I’m often asked why I’ve stayed so long at Hastings Direct. It’s not laziness or lack of ambition. – why would I leave? I have everything I need for a good work-life balance and I’ve made some great friends, many of whom have been here nearly as long as me!

One thing that’s impressed me most recently is the focus on mental wellbeing. The available support spreads far and wide from a brief chat, to a having wellbeing meetings, alongside free weekly mindfulness and Pilates classes for everyone.

Now both my children also work here! They’ve formed their own career journey and equally feel valued. You can imagine my poor husband having to listen us all talking about Hastings Direct at the dinner table! Before you ask… I’ve tried to get him in, but he’s happy doing what he does!

If you’re interested in joining Hastings Direct then please click here to view our current vacancies: https://jobs.mummyjobs.co.uk/clients/hastings-direct

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ShootForTheMoon With Mums Enterprise

Mums Enterprise Events London

Getting Mums Back Into Work

#ShootForTheMoon With Mums Enterprise

In June two members of the MummyJobs, DaddyJobs and FlexIsBest team attended The Mums Enterprise event in Manchester. We were so overwhelmed with the numbers that we plan to have the whole team there at the two day event in London in September. We spoke to so many mums from start to finish. It was so busy there was little time in between chats to even have a nibble of lunch! But what was clear is the large volume of mums who post maternity find themselves in a situation where they feel lost when it comes to the subject of careers.

It is fair to say the day was a huge success, not just for us but for Lindsey, Lucy and the Mums Enterprise team too.

We asked Lindsey how she thought the day went….

Well done Lindsey, Lucy and the rest of the team for an amazing Mums Enterprise event in Manchester. How are you feeling now it’s over?

Thanks so much, we feel relief. These events have grown so much and that has been a conscious decision but it also comes with added personal, professional and financial risk to do so.  With events – the outcome is unpredictable. We do all we can to ensure the day is as awesome as possible and obviously we market and promote the event and get pre registrations. The danger is you could still very well end up with a different outcome than expected. We feel so proud when we see our event busy and bustling, giving us a sense of relief that hard work was worth it.

It must have taken lots of organisation, blood, sweat and tears to get such an event together but the outcome was brilliant and inspired so many women. How many women attended and what’s the feedback you’ve received so far?

Yes it really does, we are in the exact same shoes as the visitors who attend.  We have babies, families, work from home with a remote team and have worked for three years bringing these events to the world.  They exist because I couldn’t go back to my city job after my first baby in 2013. I started an events business first before the idea struck for this in 2015 with the first events in 2016.

Feedback has been amazing. We get inundated with messages of thanks and appreciation that the events are here and that they are just so so needed. We know the talent is out there, which is why we are so confident in taking such huge risks to do what we do.

The events are inspirational. They offer practical advice, useful workshops, a great opportunity to meet like-minded and mums and discover real work or business opportunities. Opportunities many may not have known existed had they not attended.

BUT events are never perfect, we manage our business by conducting live tests.  For instance this event was the first event we kept open until 6pm. We wanted to see if mums would come after work or after school pick up.  Some did, but it wouldn’t warrant us staying open that late again. So in future we will most likely close the event around 4.30pm.

The next London event is another test, it will be the first time we have done a two day event and are trying one day to be a Saturday to see if that helps mums who are employed or can’t get the time off work, or can get help with the kids.

One thing is for certain we must get more employers who are recruiting involved. Being a small team and are limited to the time we can spend actively selling and reaching out to new businesses. We will do more, but I am very pleased to have had over 3,000 satisfied visitors at Manchester. I mean that’s just incredible.

The Mums Enterprise event was all set up to cater for children, with nannies and play areas set up in various locations. How important do you feel this was to encouraging mums to attend?

Ideally we want a full creche but these events cost a heck of a lot of money. It isn’t cheap getting 3000 mums in once place so we do the best we can. This was the first time we had nannies in the workshop rooms as a mid-way option to trying our best to help those with children. We also keep workshops to only 30 minutes with 15 minute intervals – we feel this also helps.

Next up is London on the 1st and 2nd of February 2019, what should we expect from this 2 day event?

Well it’s going to be quite similar to the Manchester event. The same features, content and 5 exhibitors zones across Boost, Business, Flexible Work, Opportunity and Retrain & UpSkill. This time I am considering adding some longer mastermind sessions. Those who already run a business need more in-depth information which can’t always be delved into within just 30 minutes.  But I need to work on the agenda and then decide.

But the London show is again totally free and as mentioned is our first two day event and we are trying out a Saturday for show #7.

I spent most of the day talking to mums from the MummyJobs.co.uk stand. So many mums feel at a crossroads in their careers or jobs now they have a family. So many feel they can’t return to work due to lack of flexibility or refusal to even discuss flexible working. Skills are waiting to be snapped up by employers. Employers must understand that by embracing flexible working they open up their doors to a wider talent pool.

What would you say to the employers who still make the assumption that flexible workers lack ambition?

 

Mummyjobs.co.uk is doing a fantastic job getting more employers onboard to highlight opportunities and careers. There is a huge movement happening. I wouldn’t say that employers don’t find flexible workers lack ambition. I think it is more about a shift and cultural change within a business that is the challenge.  For large organisations especially, such a drastic implementation of change is a huge deal. There must be a diverse array of execs on boards to the traditional man and his pipe in order for that to happen.

There is a huge movement and organisations are recognising that there really is a 4th revolution happening. Not just for mums but for the world the 9-5 will be extinct. It will happen and it’s the likes of Mums Enterprise, Mummyjobs.co.uk and many others who can help make change happen. It’s just going to take working together, supporting one another and not giving up. This is a long game.

#Shootforthemoon

Thank you

Mums Enterprise Events

Unfortunately due to unforeseen circumstances the above event has been cancelled.

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CHILDCARE OPTIONS AND FLEXIBLE WORKING

Needle in a haystack

Childcare Options And Flexible Working

Finding the right childcare options when working full time or flexibly can be like finding a needle in a haystack. If you do find that needle it is often a diamond! Parents spend up to 45% of their disposable income on childcare. When it comes to a return to work, families (and in particular, mothers) often have to make a decision as to whether it is even worth working after paying for childcare. Many parents therefore try, to combine flexible working with childcare. An attempt to try and achieve a “happy” medium.

“43% of working women in the UK now work part time or flexibly. The majority of these choosing part time / flexible working to balance childcare.”

Flexible working requests are reassuringly becoming a norm. Not only for those parents returning to work after maternity or paternity leave but also throughout the lifecycle of parenting. A parent’s working arrangements can change several times as their children grow up. As many parents quickly realise, the days of a worrying about how to leave the office at 5pm in order to collect from a nursery at 6pm, are soon replaced by school pick-ups.

Getting Creative

Unfortunately, whilst your working arrangements may be flexible your childcare is inherently inflexible. Therefore, parents are forced to look at creative solutions and combinations in order to meet their needs. Nurseries have set hours; childminders will only pick up from certain schools, school holidays are fixed and so as their childcare is often inflexible. So parents have to seek greater and further working flexibility at certain times of year or at certain times in their child’s life.


So Back To Basics, What Are Your Childcare Options?

Nannies

Nannies provide the most flexible option for childcare when your children are young. Being based from your home if you need to work late, they can also ensure the children are then put to bed and your house is tidy. Nannies are widely regarded as the most expensive option. The reality is that if you have 2 or 3 children to care for, they can be cheaper than nursery fees. Nanny shares (whereby two employers share one nanny) can also provide further financial advantages and is a popular solution for many working flexibly.

Nurseries

Nurseries provide the least flexible childcare but are open all year round, except when your child is ill and they are unable to go. They have set hours and set sessions that you must pay for regardless of whether your child goes and there can be high penalties if you are late.

Childminders

Childminders provide a home from home setting with relatively fixed hours. They do provide more flexibility particularly for families who need less standard hours, shorter days or part-time care. Most will also offer nursery or school drop off and pick up options (although they will only usually pick up from certain establishments).

Family

Family has a benefit of being free, home based and flexible. However it’s important for the family member to be fully committed (such as not taking lots of holidays when you need cover!). Building a network of school families is essential. This network is beneficial not only for those emergency situations when you are running late home but also to arrange swapping playdates or holiday cover. A bit of sharing the load for childcare is a great way of cutting down on summer camp costs.

Au-Pairs

Au-Pairs are a popular choice when children go to school. Like a nanny they will work just for you and can offer 25-30 hours a week providing cover before and after school. Financially they are the cheapest option, providing you have a spare room available for them. However au pairs often have no (or very limited) childcare experience. They often travel to the UK for a cultural experience of only between 6-12 months.


Breakfast Clubs and After School Clubs

Breakfast Clubs and After School Clubs are available not just at your school but also some local nurseries offer a local school collection service and then they care for the children in premises near to the school.

 

So how do you go about finding the right childcare options for your family?

The biggest piece of advice for any parent thinking of childcare is to plan ahead but also to constantly reassess. Childcare needs unfortunately change. Such as when there is a change is circumstances like going to school or changing schools, new additions to the family. Ensure an open and frank relationship with your employer. The key to achieving the “happy” medium is trying to achieve flexibility on all sides.

Ultimately the right childcare option is the one that leaves your children happy, stimulated and safe. One that leaves you with peace of mind. Also one that creates the less stress possible for busy working parents, whether working full-time or flexibly.

Parental Choice the essential “one-stop shop” to help you make the right decision on your childcare needs. Parental Choice offer childcare searches including nurseries, childminders, nannies and au pairs plus support employers of nannies with all their payroll and employer responsibilities. For more information on your childcare options and how Parental Choice can help visit www.parentalchoice.co.uk and quote MJPC5.

Need help on deciding which career path to follow? Why not check out The Mum’s Enterprise events!

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Is a return to Marketing in your future?

Always liked the idea of marketing?

Can you communicate clearly, both in writing and speech? Are you a problem solver? Can you crunch numbers? Are you an ideas person?

If yes, then marketing could be the new career pathway you’ve been looking for.

But, what actually is marketing?

Many people throw the word around not really knowing what it means and often using it in the wrong context. According to CIM (Chartered Institute of Marketing) it’s all about; identifying, developing and working.
Identifying something that customers or businesses want to buy or a problem that they need solved.
Developing a solution for that need or problem. It could be a product or a service.
Working out how you charge the right price for the product or service. You need to price it so that people will buy, but you also need to make a profit.

It sounds simple?

The theory is but the realities are more complex – it’s a challenging career where no two days are the same. Within it, you’ve got what’s known as the 7 Ps of marketing. We’ve already covered product and price, but there’s also:

Promotion – how you tell your customers about your products or services and how you market and sell to them. This includes advertising, PR and digital.
Place – where your product is sold. So, building and retaining good relationships with your retailers is a key part of the role.
Packaging – this is about how your product is presented to your customer and first impressions really count. Small tweaks such as a slight colour change can completely change a customer’s perception and affect their decision to buy.
Positioning – this is all about where your brand sits in the hearts and minds of your existing and prospective customers. It’s how people think about your company and how they talk about it.
People – the right people, inside and outside of the business, are a hugely important part of the marketing mix.

It’s a rewarding career and opportunities are vast too. No business or industry can survive without it, so the world is your oyster when it comes to choosing your sector. Or you might be looking for a career switch within your chosen career field. Pre-kids, if you worked in sales and want to switch to marketing to avoid all those hours on the road then you’re in a great position. You already have an existing knowledge of the industry and sales and marketing work hand-in-hand, so it won’t be like starting from scratch.

So, how do you get into marketing?

The good news is, that you can get into marketing without a degree. You can train flexibly online around work and family life. Try the professionally accredited Combined Sales & Marketing Diploma or if you want to be an established member of the digital age, try the Digital Marketing Diploma or the Digital Retox from Digital Mums.

The CIM also offers a series of diplomas, depending on experience. The Foundation Certificate gives you the basics, but there are a host of other short courses.

If your financial situation allows it, it’s worth considering an entry-level position to get a foot in the door. If you’ve already got commercial experience and are keen to develop, chances are you’ll rise up the ladder quite quickly. Some employers may also support financially with formal qualifications whilst you’re working. You benefit, they benefit – it’s a win-win.

Check out our latest marketing roles HERE
For more information about marketing visit www.cim.co.uk