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Image / Agenda / Business

How the flexibility of remote working prompted these mums to return to the workplace


by Amanda Cassidy
20th Jan 2021

There is no doubt the Covid crisis has increased the burden on parents – mothers in particular. But there are some who have found remote working a better fit for juggling their work and parenting life. Amanda Cassidy reports


“I put my children before my career for many years” explains Emily, a mum of three from Co. Kildare. “But since the restrictions came in, it has become acceptable to do a video call with a toddler hanging around your neck or to adjust your hours to fit in with bath time. It became a lot more do-able.”

Emily was a project manager for a major tech firm for 15 years before she took a career break to be at home with her children but since the pandemic, she’s dipped her toes back into the work pool.

“Suddenly I didn’t have to worry about childcare in order to be out in an office all day. It wouldn’t have made financial sense either. I realised that my daughters (aged 5, 8, and 10) can get on with their homeschool or wait until I’ve finished my meetings and apart from the continuous shushing, we work pretty well around the kitchen table together for a few hours every morning.

Civil servant Rebecca Green, 29 told the BBC about her situation recently. She felt that she’d have to lose income by reducing her hours drastically in order to juggle her family commitments with her career obligations.

Flexibility

She was on maternity leave when the first lockdown was brought in. Without a lengthy commute, she could enjoy breakfast with her daughter Bethan, and then finish work in time for tea.  “It would have been difficult to fit getting Bethan to nursery and me to work, on time,” says Rebecca.

“Working from home has made it easier for sure. It is much more manageable now. It wouldn’t have been sustainable before.”

Acceptable

Nicky Higgins is a mum of two who stopped working five years ago due to a combination of ill-health and in order to work at home with her children. Her story echos some of the others we spoke to when it came to expanding her work goals.

“I figured I’d go back to my insurance job in some capacity maybe in two years’ time when my youngest son is in school but during the lockdown, I continued my yoga teacher teaching course which I’d been doing for a few months.”

Nicky is now teaching four classes a week online thanks to the flexibility that meant she didn’t have to rely on childcare.

“I know it is so difficult to be at home altogether. But I wouldn’t have gone back to work had remote working not been so accessible – so acceptable.”

One of the few positives of the pandemic is perhaps that employers have been forced to embrace flexible working.

Nicky says that now she can have lot of the work done before her children even wake up – and still do the school run (in non-homeschooling times). That was unthinkable before.

Finally, those of us with childcare responsibilities no longer feel it is a case of ‘either/or’

Image via Unsplash.com 

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