‘Iceberg’ of discontent over flexible working expected post-pandemic

Employers have been warned not to take away flexible working after restrictions are lifted post-coronavirus.

A report by childcare provider Bright Horizons warned that companies which withdraw flexible working options in the future risk losing employees who have recognised the importance of family life and work/life balance as benefits in the past year.

A third of working parents (32%) asked in the report said that flexible working during coronavirus has allowed them to work more effectively as they could better balance their work with their caring responsibilities.

The majority (57%) of respondents also said they want to start hybrid working once the pandemic is over, and 18% said they would want to work from home all of time.

These expectations sit below the surface like an iceberg, the report warned.

Jennifer Liston-Smith, head of thought leadership at Bright Horizons, said HR must ensure that post-pandemic plans take the change of attitude into account.

Speaking to HR magazine, she said: “To avoid running aground on these particular ‘icebergs’, HR leaders need to ensure that the company provides, makes easily accessible and widely publicises their options to support all caring arrangements.

“It’s clear that employee’s value meaningful, practical help, so HR can help the business walk the talk and attract the best talent by promoting holistic solutions that support the diverse needs of their workforce.”

Remote working arrangements were found to be especially popular with younger generations of workers aged between 16 and 25.

However, 17% of young respondents said that they are still unable to work flexibly due to employer refusals.

Liston-Smith added: “This considered approach to career choices is a wake-up call to employers that being family-friendly counts right from the start.”

The 2021 Modern Families Index Spotlight report surveyed 1,000 parents from across the UK on their experiences of the conditions created by the COVID-19 crisis.

Further reading:

Special leave should be for all employees not just parents and carers

Working parents lying over home-schooling

Working parents hit by furlough refusals