Muslim woman working from home, flexible working

Article provided by Jenny Mowat, UK Managing Director, Babel PR

It’s a fact of life that we will all need to work out of the office at some point.

Everyone’s lives are just full of things to do, whether it’s work itself, or an electrician coming around, or even just trying to beat the rush hour crowds on your commute. In ages gone by, this was made a lot harder due to slow internet connections, non-instant communication, maybe even having to rely on…the post. However, in the pervasive digital economy, the ability to work from almost anywhere is almost a reality. Despite the technological and infrastructure advances, there continues to be some hesitancy from employers to support remote, or even flexible working, on a regular basis.

Other countries seem to have this perfected – whether it’s the Nordics and their trust that the work will be done in whatever way you do it, or maybe it’s the Netherlands where you often prioritise time away from your desk in the day to spend time with your colleagues. This different approach to work/life balance has led to businesses reporting higher levels of productivity and work satisfaction than in the UK.

I know that flexible working is sometimes an ask for employers, with some expressing fears of opening the floodgates with everyone demanding the same agreement. When coming back to work with a young family, I knew what my ideal role would look like, but I had next to no hope in finding it. I wanted something that would primarily offer a flexible working environment, something that would challenge me, have a team I could learn from and a chance to trust my gut. I believe all these areas should be available for everyone, not just those returning to work from maternity leave. But this wasn’t what I found when I started looking for a role both in-house and agency side. But that doesn’t mean to say it can’t happen.

Babel, for example, champions the use of the technology to enable flexible and remote working.  We work in a service industry, so we need to have to an always-on culture and mentality to a certain extent. Particularly when working with clients across different time-zones to ours. Practically this can make flexible and remote working more complex, but through technology services such as Slack, Skype, Zoom, Trello, Google Docs or just plain old Email – it all adds to the ease of collaborative working, from any location or time. To ensure this all works in reality though, you need a culture built on trust.

Flexible working can offer so much more than opportunities for parents to spend time with their children. We need to think about those who want to invest more time in their favourite charities, sports teams, even hobbies. Enabling communications through tech ensures that ideas can still be bounced off each other, thoughts can be shared, and updates can be given even when not physically with your teams. These are all points that apply to all, not just mothers and fathers with young families.

Ultimately, employers need to accept that a one size fits all approach isn’t always the best way. Realising this and listening to employees’ needs and wants will bring about happier, healthier and more loyal teams. And who doesn’t want happier people?

Jenny Mowat, UK Managing Director, BabelAbout the author

Jenny has over a decade of experience driving international and UK specific award-winning campaigns. Jenny is responsible for expanding Babel’s UK B2B client base across the technology, media and telecoms sectors. Her client experience includes Dell EMC, Darktrace, Verint, CA Technologies, Citrix, Experis and Premier Inn, delivering integrated campaigns (spanning PA, PR, social and marketing) with impact. She is well versed in adapting themes to meet different audiences – from verticals, enterprise business to consumers – and works closely with her teams to ensure all KPIs and expectations are exceeded.