Top family-friendly bosses ensure good work-life balance - survey

Katy Morton
Wednesday, September 8, 2021

A new report finds that the majority of employers have continued to allow flexible working and now focus on employees’ outputs rather than number of hours worked, thanks to changing work patterns over the course of the pandemic.

The Working Families report finds that the majority of employers are continuing to allow their employees to work flexibly, PHOTO Adobe Stock
The Working Families report finds that the majority of employers are continuing to allow their employees to work flexibly, PHOTO Adobe Stock

Working Families’ 'Employer Benchmark 2021', which captured the experience of nearly 500,000 UK employees, found that over 60 per cent of employers still have more than 75 per cent of their staff working flexibly.

Employers also reported that line managers in their organisations are now recognising that hours worked isn’t always a reliable measure of productivity.

Other findings from the report include:

  • 42 per cent of organisations said lack of line manager knowledge or skill was a barrier to creating a family-friendly, flexible workplace.
  • Only a tiny proportion of senior leaders work flexibly or part-time (less than 7 per cent) with the majority of these being women.

Top family-friendly workplaces

The charity has also published its annual list of the top family-friendly workplaces in the UK. Among the top employers are major banks, a local NHS Trust, and the Welsh Parliament.

Employers were assessed using Working Families’ Benchmark and were scored on four key areas to build a comprehensive picture of their flexible and family-friendly policies and practices that specifically support mothers, fathers and carers, they are:

  • Integration to organisational strategy and culture
  • Policy
  • Consistent practice
  • Evidence and statistics

Working Families’ chief executive applauded the organisations that are ‘role-modelling the absolute best of flexible, family- friendly policies and practice’.

Jane Van Zyl said, ‘Our Top Employers are leading the way in creating workplaces that support the whole person – encouraging and enabling their staff team to get the best possible balance between home and work life.  

‘As we finally move out of the reactive state the pandemic has put us all in, we know that more and more people will be prioritising wellbeing and flexible working when choosing their next employer. It has never been clearer that for a business to attract the brightest and best talent, visibly championing flexible and family-friendly practices is absolutely key.’

  • The report is available here 

Mother wins sex discrimination payout

The publication of the Employer Benchmark 2021 follows the award of £184,000 to a former sales manager of an estate agents after her boss refused to let her leave work early to collect her daughter from nursery.

Alice Thompson reportedly wanted to work for four days a week and finish at 5pm rather than 6pm when her childcare finished. But the director of the company she worked for rejected her request claiming the business couldn’t afford for her to go part-time, so she resigned.

Ms Thompson took her former employer to a tribunal and won her claim of indirect sex discrimination. According to reports, a panel found that making her work until 6pm – when nurseries ordinarily close - placed her at a ‘disadvantage’.

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