Flexible working is a rapidly growing trend, and employers are embracing it in their droves. Companies don’t risk falling out of favor with their existing employees and the talent they hope to attract as they grow. In fact, according to this flexible working trends report, current employers predict that over a third of full-time employees will work remotely in the next ten years.
This can only be positive news for working parents. Every working mom knows that balancing a career and parenthood can be fraught with difficulties, especially if you’ve been burdened with an inflexible manager who refuses to consider flexible working.
According to Pew Research Centre, 60% of working moms find it difficult to find a work-family balance (and one-in-five full-time working moms find it very difficult).
So is remote working – one of the most popular forms of flexible working – the antidote?
NB: Remote working is sometimes referred to as telecommuting.
The simple answer is yes. In fact, one of the main benefits of remote working is that it enables moms to stay in work. Research shows many new moms significantly reduce their working hours or leave the labour market altogether after childbirth because they just can’t make it work time and money-wise. (And we all know how expensive childcare can be!)
An interesting study published in the journal Human Relations looked at whether flexitime and remote working impacted mothers’ employment patterns post-childbirth. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the results show that flexible working does indeed help women stay in work after childbirth.
The study also found that women who work from home when they need to and those who use flexitime are way less likely to drastically reduce their working hours after childbirth.
Let’s take a closer look at how the remote working trend can have a positive impact on the working lives of moms and those thinking of becoming a digital nomad.
Reduced childcare costs
It goes without saying that working remotely can work wonders for the bank balance. If you have pre-school age children and you’re able to focus on work while keeping your child with you at home you’ll end up saving a lot of money that would otherwise be spent on childcare costs.
Even if the nature of your jobs means you need to work without any distractions, the lack of commute will also save you money, benefit the environment and significantly reduce your carbon footprint.
More agency and freedom
Having the option to work flexibly provides moms – and anyone for that matter – with more agency over how they divide up their time in their daily lives. Having more control over the whens and wheres is important when you have children or elderly parents to care for. Working solely between the hours of 9 to five has never suited everyone.
Energy saved on the commute and the lack of usual office distractions means that working remotely can have a positive impact on the quality and quantity of the work you produce. It can also make you happier – which inevitably has the potential to have a positive impact on your children. Of course, there will be times when you feel demotivated, and this is okay – you’re still human.
Although there are numerous tried and tested remote working benefits for both employees and employers alike, it isn’t always as dreamy as it seems.
First off, telecommuters can sometimes suffer from feelings of loneliness. To avoid this, many remote workers work from home for a portion of the week, say one or two days, and spend the rest of their time in the office with their coworkers.
If you do end up working remotely full-time, try working from a cafe or in a coworking space to alleviate feelings of isolation.
What’s more, without the right technological infrastructure in place at home (i.e. a good internet connection) it can be hard for some telecommuters to do their jobs properly.
If you’re thinking about taking the plunge, speak to your employer first about how this will work. Will they provide you with the necessary tech such as a computer and smartphone? Will you have remote access to IT support? What about upgrades?
Where to find remote work jobs
Thankfully, an increasing number of employers are embracing flexible working and integrating it into their policies – but not everyone’s there just yet. There’s still a bit of a stigma around flexible working in some companies, but you can root out the good ones if you look in the right places.
A Study by Owl Labs titled “The Global State of Remote Work” reveals that 56 percent of companies allow staff to work remotely. 16 percent of companies are fully remote, and 68 percent of the survey’s respondents said they can work from home (21 percent say they do so more than once a week, and 18 percent work remotely full-time.)
So where can you go to find these remote jobs?
First of all, it’s helpful to be aware of some of the major companies that offer remote working (more are joining the list every day). This article by Forbes published at the beginning of 2019 lists the top 100 remote work employers. Top of the list is global technology company Appen, followed by Lionbridge, VIPKID, Liveops, Working Solutions and Amazon.
You can also search for remote roles on job sites like indeed.com and specialist remote work sites including flexjobs.com, remoters.net and weworkremotely.com. Then there’s “gig” sites like UpWork for self-employed work which is worth looking into if you’d like to utilize your skills to earn a bit of extra money.
Technology and recent changes in attitudes towards working have led to wider-spread access to remote working – much to the delight of working moms. Yet however great it may seem, it’s not for everybody, so think carefully about whether it’s right for your circumstances before approaching your employer about flexible working or finding a new job.