Career and parenting

Flexi-work arrangements can bring about synergy between both worlds

I refer to the article "Hard choice between career and motherhood" (April 18).

Over the last 10 years, the landscape in the workplace and parenting has been changing.

In the past one year, many couples have experienced flexible work arrangements, including flexi-place, flexi-time and flexi-load.

It was a precious window for families to experience and fine-tune how to work at home while fulfilling parenting roles with children in the home.

The working mum and dad, as well as their employers, managers and teams, took quick, deep dives into flexible work arrangements without much preparation for operational guidelines and few opportunities for fine-tuning.

I hope that young parents, with this valuable experience, will look into arrangements that will let them benefit from the synergy of parenting and flexible work arrangements.

Parents, not just mums, can plan, coordinate and communicate with employers about work-from-home days.

Such a telecommuting day may be one designated by the company for the purpose of minimising on-site events or one requested by the employee on a selected day.

On other days, when work-from-home is implemented as part of the hybrid work arrangement, one parent can ask for flexi-hours.

For example, the father can request a split-work window from 4pm to 6pm to bring the child home from the childcare centre or school, then resume work after 6pm when the mother is back from work.

Though work is best measured by results, the number of work hours can be fulfilled by earlier start-times, for example, by starting work once the child is taken to school or a childcare centre, as travelling to work is not needed.

I hope that working mums will not be stuck with the notion that hard choices have to be made between their career and motherhood.

There are now more options and solutions, especially when both parents can draw on their experience from the past one year.

Don't let the crisis go to waste - harness the synergy of combining flexible work arrangements with parenting and enjoy work-life success.

Yeo Miu Ean

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 28, 2021, with the headline Flexi-work arrangements can bring about synergy between both worlds. Subscribe