Why is National Flex Day Important?

by Jennifer Hargreaves

National Flex Day is dedicated to encouraging employers and employees to unite behind the need for more flexibility at work. In 2014, it was designated to be the third Tuesday of October by three organizations in the US.

I love the movement and support behind the initiative. National Flex Day is very close to our hearts here at tellent.

In dedication to National Flex Day I want to examine why it is so important for companies and society to support flexible work policies.

I hope you will start a conversation about supporting workplace flexibility. If we talk about the issues, discuss the benefits, and take individual actions, our ripples will turn to waves and, slowly, we can change the future of work for the better.

 

Flexible work policies can reduce gender inequality.

Flexibility at work:

  1. Increases the number of women engaged in the workforce. Flexible work polices make it easier to reconcile work obligations and personal life. Scheduling options mean that women can more easily achieve both career and life ambitions.
  2. It decreases gender bias and discrimination. A universal flexible work policy will decrease stigmas and bias that can develop around ‘accommodating’ women. If the workplace culture supports flex time for all employees, regardless of gender, age or reason then women are less likely to be penalized for it.
  3. Inspires more women to lead. Catalyst research showed that women who have access to flexible work options have higher career aspirations. We believe that is because you can see a clear, realistic and desirable path to leadership. One that recognizes better integration of work ambition and life!
  4. It is a start to closing the gender pay gap. The gender pay gap is a persistent and difficult issue (one we will look at in more depth in the coming months). Flexible work schedules will level the playing field in only some job and career choices. Usually ones that are highly skilled and well-paid but it will contribute to closing that persistent gap.

And all of that impacts a women’s position in society for the better. According to the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report it will take 170 years to achieve gender parity. Surely we can do better than that?

One of the negative arguments for flex work is that women (or any workers) are going to have reduced earning potential over the course of their careers in reduced hour or part-time work. Usually these jobs are less well compensated and can affect one’s ability to obtain the experience or skills required for promotion (compounding the gender pay gap issue). However, choosing the career and life path that satisfies your own version of success is important.

“At tellent we have big ambition. Ambition to bring more women more choice.”

“I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples”. We are seeing these ripples as many of you are requesting flexible work and succeeding. I believe those ripples will contribute to a shift in corporate cultures; to making flexible work more common place and more accepted,

Happy National Flex Day!