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Work employment

Go-get-em

Flexible and hybrid working is here to stay – make it work for you

By | Work employment

The global COVID-19 crisis has transformed the face of work for millions. With many businesses now taking on a more blended approach to remote and office-based work, ‘flexible working’ is well and truly here to stay. The enforced need to adapt has fundamentally changed the way companies are run and has shown that many jobs can and are being done remotely, part-time or with compressed hours – and with great success.

At Flexibility Matters we have been actively championing this necessary business change for the past six years. Matching businesses with results-oriented professionals that simply need a flexible approach to their work hours, has meant that we understand very well the key requirements for successful partnerships.

During the lockdown period we launched a new service specifically designed to support businesses to maintain projects whilst teams were scattered or unable to work. Experts in their fields, such as Marketing, HR and Finance, Flexibility Matters Consultants worked on an agreed day rate and on continual rolling contracts. It was a great example of flexible workers being able to adapt to suit business demands and we were delighted at how well this worked for both our candidates and businesses.

We’ve been reporting for years that flexible workers are more focussed, productive, and happy and we know the key ingredients to being a successful one.

Whether you’re looking for a completely new challenge working hours that suit your circumstances or you need full workplace flexibility such as home-based work, for parenting or carer reasons, here are just a few of our top tips to being remote or flexible work capable:

• Flexible working enabling tech.

Ensure you have a reliable and secure Internet connection, especially for video calls. Plus, have the software and hardware tools that you need to be 100% remote working effective, such as Microsoft Teams, Office 365 and Zoom.

• Set yourself up for success in your workspace.

Whether this means you find a great co-working space near you or a designated area at home that makes you feel focussed and motivated.

• Be clear in your communications.

Conversing remotely removes a lot of the extra information gained from the visual and audio cues of speaking in person. So, make sure you recognise this, and that communication is extra clear and timely and that it builds trust between you and your employers.

• Know when to log-off.

The best part of working remotely is having the flexibility to work when you are most productive, so be careful about setting the expectation that you are available 24/7 and set clear boundaries between work and life.

• Be adaptable.

Being adaptable is a big part of being flexible and it should work for both you and your employer. Being willing to, on occasion, step outside of your core working hours to accommodate something business critical will secure a successful flexible partnership.

At Flexibility Matters, flexible working is at our core and we are uniquely positioned to resource for this new ‘normal’.
If you’re a professional looking for a flexible career role, take a look at our website and register with us today:
www.flexibilitymatters.co.uk, or get in touch with me on 0781 0541 599 or email: emma@flexmatters.co.uk.

www.flexibilitymatters.co.uk

Meet the women leading ‘the flex movement’!

By | family, Finance, Work employment
by Emma Cleary
Flexibility Matters

This year’s International Women’s Day, #ChooseToChallenge, is for me the perfect reminder of all the fabulous women I’ve encountered on my journey who have inspired me to continue championing flexible working and its benefits.

As the founder of Flexibility Matters, I started my flexible work journey out of the necessity to find a job in Sussex that accommodated three nursery aged children! Flex is fundamental to work and life and I’ve made it my mission to find flexible roles for talented and experienced parents to allow them to continue to progress their careers.

At a pivotal webinar on ‘How Covid-19 made working flexibly business critical’, some of the wonderfully flexible ladies I’ve met along the way and some of whom I work with now, were able to reveal their most important insights on busting the nine to five working myth.

Jane Galloway, Head of Flexible Working at NHS England, and NHS Improvement said: “In general, increasing access to flexible working options increases staff engagement, and we know that in the NHS, good staff engagement leads to better patient care.”.

Dagmar Albers, UK Diversity & Inclusion Lead, who has been avidly working within Pfizer to roll out team pact workshops on informal flexible working agreements, revealed: “Once teams agree a pact, they are then able to work at a time and place best for them in terms of productivity, energy and of course positive outcomes, whilst effectively managing commitments outside of work. It is about the outcome produced and not the number of hours worked and about trusting each other to deliver in a way that works for them”.

Jessica Hornsby, Organisational Capability Lead has been working within Thales on fundamentally shifting the mindset around flexible working, that they now term SMART working, for over four years. She saw many assumptions smashed by COVID-19. The most impactful being how few roles ‘have’ to be office based.

Another remarkable lady, Ursula Tavender, Learning and Development Specialist and Co-Director of Flexpo, has been leading the charge on flex and equality in the workplace for over 5 years now. Ursula says: “Flexible working is the most powerful tool we have in the working world to make sure that everyone, whatever their circumstances, has equal access to meaningful work and equal opportunity to progress. It has always been the key to closing pay gaps, and now it has also become the key to our ability to build back better as we navigate the phases of the pandemic. We’ve learned so much during this past year about what’s possible; now is the time to leverage the opportunity in front of us to change the world of work forever.”

For the past six years Flexibility Matters have been matching businesses with results-oriented professionals that need a flexible approach to their work hours. Whilst influencing business mindsets and challenging traditional cultures has not been simple, with a little push from a pandemic that chose to challenge us all, it now feels like a more flexible approach to work is here to stay.

We’ve been reporting for years that flexible workers are more focused, productive and happy and we know the key ingredients to being a successful one. Whether you’ve been made redundant or you’re simply looking for a brand new flexible challenge, get in touch on 07810 541599 or register at www.flexibilitymatters.co.uk

Divorce is changing for the better

By | family, Finance, Legal, Relationships, Work employment
by Rachael House
Senior Associate Solicitor, Family Law, Mackrell Turner Garrett Solicitors

What is the current divorce law in this country?
Under current divorce law, if you and your spouse have not been separated for two years or more you can only get divorced by showing that your spouse has committed adultery or behaved in such a way that you cannot tolerate living with them (known as unreasonable behaviour). Only then will a court grant you a divorce.

Adultery and unreasonable behaviour divorces are known as ‘fault-based’ divorces and usually increase acrimony between spouses. For example, to demonstrate that your spouse has behaved in such a way that you cannot tolerate living with them, you have to write some unpleasant words about them and their behaviour. For your spouse who is at the receiving end of these unkind words it can cause them distress and make them even more unhappy with you, when tensions may already be running high. This type of divorce is especially unhelpful where there are children of the family, as relationships between parents can deteriorate further at a time when it is more important than ever for parents to work co-operatively.

Over the years, the Government has been reluctant to reform divorce law, believing that making it easier for couples to divorce would somehow undermine the sanctity of marriage and increase the rates of divorce.

What is changing?
In 2017, a national survey carried out by the Nuffield Foundation found that in fault-based divorces 62% of petitioners (those instigating the divorce) and 78% of respondents (those at the receiving end of a divorce) said that using fault had made the process more bitter, 21% of respondents said fault had made it harder to sort out arrangements for children, and 31% of respondents thought fault made sorting out finances harder.

In 2020 the Government passed the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Bill following lengthy campaigning by family lawyers. The Bill paves the way for a new divorce process where blame does not have to be attached to one party.

The general consensus amongst family lawyers is that the changes do not make the physical process of divorce any easier and certainly no quicker than the current system. The huge benefit of the changes, however, is that the process will be far less acrimonious and emotionally damaging for all those involved.

When can I get divorced under the new law?
The new law will come into force in autumn 2021 (no exact date has been set as yet) so there is still some time to wait.

Once the new law is in force, you will be able to proceed with a divorce by providing a ‘statement of irretrievable breakdown.’ The current two-stage process, decree nisi and decree absolute, will remain and a minimum timeframe of six months will be set from the date of the petition to decree absolute. There will also be an option for you and your spouse to issue a joint divorce petition.

What if I still want to get divorced now without blaming my spouse?
If you want to press ahead with a divorce now without attributing blame, then if you have been separated for two years or more you can get divorced on the basis of ‘two years separation’ – provided your spouse consents. If your spouse is not going to consent then you can only get divorced without attributing blame if you have been separated for five years or more.

If the above routes are not a viable option for you but you still wish to formalise the financial matters of a separation immediately, then you can enter into a separation agreement with your spouse – provided they co-operate – to divide up the finances of the marriage with a view to divorcing once the new law comes into force. At the point of divorce, your separation agreement can be converted by a family lawyer into a court order. It will then become legally binding under matrimonial law once a judge approves the order.

What shall I do next?
If you are unsure as to whether to press ahead with your divorce or to wait a while, it is important to find out more about the legal options available to you by contacting a family lawyer for advice.

Rachael House is a specialist family solicitor at Mackrell Turner Garrett, an established firm of experienced Solicitors based in Woking. www.mtgsurrey.co.uk

FLEXIBLE is the new working normal – are you equipped?

By | Finance, Relationships, Work employment
by Emma Cleary
Flexibility Matters

With a recent employee survey revealing that more than nine in 10 working parents and carers want their workplace to retain flexible working indefinitely* and another reporting that 28% of employers believe the increase in homeworking has increased productivity**, COVID-19 has shifted the working pattern mindset to flexible.

And, whilst the version of flexible working parents had been experiencing during the lockdown period was not ideal, what it has done is prove that flexibility can be possible in so many more jobs than previously thought.

The shift towards greater use of home working will make work more accessible and sustainable for all, particularly for those with caring responsibilities, and at the same time support employers to recruit and retain a more diverse workforce. Whilst employers are having to fully embrace telecommuting and reduced, or part-time work, flexible workers are having to match this with an open and adaptive attitude to new technology, training and performance management.

As a working parent, whether your current work has changed shape significantly or you’re embarking on a completely new career path, flexible working is becoming the new normal and being properly equipped for it is more important than ever. No one understands this more than us who, since 2014, have been working with employers and talented candidates filling roles outside of the traditional 9-5 working hours. To help you become fully job ready for the ‘new normal’ flexible world of work, we’ve put together some suggestions on where to start.

Understand your transferable skills
Identify the transferable skills and experience drawn from your entire career and from any periods between work. This will allow you to reveal skills and knowledge that you may not have initially considered and highlight all that you have to offer, widening your options and opportunities. Make sure you showcase these in your CV and LinkedIn profile.

Do your research
Ensure you are familiar and skilled with the latest remote working technology and that of your target industry. Educate yourself with up to date industry trends and news and identify where you may need to upskill according to what role you want to be considered for.

Have you learnt a new skill to showcase?
Have you recently learnt a new skill that you are able to showcase? This could be award-winning time-management acquired from juggling home-schooling, freelance working and everything else thrown your way! It could also be an industry related course completed online that might just make that small difference when being considered for a particular role.

* A survey of over 1,000 UK parents and carers of children aged 18 and under by Charity Working Families (Jun 2020)

**A survey of 1,046 employers by cipd.co.uk/. (July 2020)

At Flexibility Matters, we’re not only matching flexible working talent to their ideal job roles in businesses around Sussex, but we also offer free events, such as networking and interview workshops to help all our members, whatever their backgrounds. Register on www.flexibilitymatters.co.uk or get in touch with us directly on email: emma@flexmatters.co.uk Tel: 0781 0541 599.

feet bed family

Beat ‘burnout’ by working flexibly – enjoy your work and your life!

By | Education, Work employment

With 87% of all full-time employees either working flexibly already or wanting to and 40% stating they would choose flexible working over a pay-rise*, having a flexible approach to work is certainly in demand, especially with working parents. But Emma Cleary from Flexibility Matters asks, are businesses meeting this demand?

It appears that at least 25 companies around Sussex and Surrey are, and they have carved out a blueprint for more businesses to follow suit and successfully implement flexible working within their cultures. Over a series of roundtable collaborations, senior members of organisations including Leaders, Brandwatch and Thales shared some of their challenges, but most importantly their tried and tested solutions to realising flexible success.

In terms of undeniable business benefits, it’s becoming more and more clear that a flexible workforce improves productivity and decreases absenteeism and companies committing to this way of working are attracting and retaining the best talent. “If you want to hold on to talent, you have to be an organisation that works for your employees” says fully flexible worker, Jess Hornsby from Thales who contributed to the collaborations.

Alison Prangnell, a Marketing Manager and Stress Management Consultant from Hassocks, reveals that, since becoming a full-time flexible worker, she not only enjoys her work, but also her life!

Alison worked in senior management roles for technology and cyber security businesses around the South East for several years. Yet following a period of burnout, caused by excessive and prolonged stress, she decided to change the shape of her work completely. She now works 25 hours per week remotely as Head of Marketing for Workhorse and the rest of her time as a freelance Stress Management Consultant at her own business, Anderida Coaching. Spending her time flexibly, switching between streams of work that both interest her and provide value, means that she now enjoys both her work and her life.

Alison says “At Workhorse, I’m contracted on results. I also have another job – to help employees understand how to manage stress effectively for their health, happiness and work/life balance, so that they don’t find themselves at burnout. This is my passion job. My flexible working arrangement at Workhorse means I am also able to pursue this long held dream”.

For working parents, getting the balance of childcare and work responsibilities just right can be challenging, so, what can you do to ensure you’re making flexible working a reality for yourself?

Getting your CV up to scratch is key. Keep it to two pages, don’t be afraid to explain any career breaks, highlight all transferable skills and include a succinct personal profile that you can adapt per application. An accompanying cover letter that cites recent trends in the sector relevant to the role you are applying for will help you stand out. And lastly, focusing on your LinkedIn profile is a great way to get in contact with old colleagues and clients as well as educating yourself about up to date industry trends.

At Flexibility Matters, we’re not only matching flexible working talent to their ideal job roles in businesses around Sussex, Surrey and South London, but we’ve also got some super helpful tools on our website. These include a series of top tips from nailing interviews to writing personal profiles and a CV Builder, designed to get your most important skills and experience noticed.

*Source: Timewise Flexible Job Index

Register on www.flexibilitymatters.co.uk or get in touch directly on email: emma@flexmatters.co.uk, Tel: 0781 0541 599. For the blueprint on implementing flexible working, go to our website contact page and message: ‘please can you send me the full 10-point best practice guide’.

Are you work ready? A guide to stepping back in

By | Education, family, Work employment
by Emma Cleary
Flexibility Matters

This summer you may be preparing to send your little ones off to school in September, making way for some time when its finally about you again. It may be time for you to step back into your existing career or a completely new one and if you’ve been out of the workplace for a while it can seem daunting diving back in.

No-one understands these challenges more than flexible recruitment experts Flexibility Matters who, since 2007, have been working with employers and talented mums filling roles outside of the traditional 9-5 working hours. Dedicated to flexible recruiting, best practice in flexible working, events and training, here they share their step by step guide to getting work ready after a career break.

Regain your confidence by understanding your skills
The very first step is to regain a handle on who you are in the workplace and what you really want from it, acknowledging the practical elements such as pay, commute and environment. Identify your talents (what you are good at naturally) and do a soft and hard skills audit categorising your strengths. This exercise alone will show you the unique offerings you have, affirming your value.

Identify, as well, your transferable skills and experience drawn from your entire career and from any career breaks. Doing this will reveal that you have even more to offer than you may have initially considered – widening your options.

If you feel out of touch with the latest technology and market trends of your target industry, don’t just worry about it – do something about it. Do some research and find out what you need to be back on top.

Perfect your CV
Now you have a handle on your potential and direction, you’re able to present yourself with confidence in your CV, keeping in mind that it will work best for you if you tailor it to the individual roles you apply for.

Keep it to two pages and don’t be afraid to explain any career break, highlighting all the new transferable skills and personal strengths you’ve gained during it. Start with a succinct and authentic personal profile that you can adapt to individual roles to instantly convince the hiring manager of your qualifications and experience that match the job requirements.

Create an adaptable cover letter too and, to demonstrate you have done your homework and are up to date, cite challenges and recent trends in the sector relevant to the role you are applying for.

Create a dazzling LinkedIn profile
A LinkedIn profile is an absolute must for any job seeker but particularly important when you have had a career break. It’s the perfect way to get in contact with old colleagues and clients as well as educating yourself with up to date industry trends and news.

Your opening headline and summary are key – use the headline space to showcase your specialism or area of focus and the summary to concisely convey your professional history, qualifications and personality.

Fit in some interview practice
You may be nervous about the prospect of a job interview, so get some practice in using friends and family – perfecting a confident hand-shake with lots of eye contact.

Make sure you know your CV inside out as it generally structures the process. Be clear on what your project examples are in response to competency-based questions.

If you’ve been out of an office for a long while, you may want to get yourself back into a workplace zone and think about the image you want to present based on the roles you are seeking. A wardrobe review may be in order or it could be a great excuse to visit the High Street for a confidence boosting revamp.

Get yourself out there!

At Flexibility Matters, we are not only matching flexible working talent to their ideal job roles in businesses around Sussex, but we also offer free events, such as networking and interview workshops to help all our members, whatevertheir backgrounds, get there.

Register on www.flexibilitymatters.co.uk or get in touch with us directly on email: emma@flexmatters.co.uk, Tel: 07810 541 599.

Should I go self-employed?

By | family, Finance, Work employment
by Emma Cleary
Ten2Two Sussex

We’re told top talent is scarce to find at the moment. As a flexible recruiter, Ten2Two Sussex has lots of brilliant professional talent on its books. But not everyone can find the flexible employment they’re seeking as they care for children or ageing parents.

1. Going self-employed to find flexibility
For those working mums seeking part-time jobs, and finding it a tough act to get into, it’s no surprise many turn to self-employment as their main way to keep the balls juggling in the air. If you’re able to go freelance or self-employed, it’s an attractive option where school holidays are concerned.

Not only that, but when the school plays or assemblies crop up, you’re able to plan your hours and be there without feeling like you’re asking your boss for another ‘favour’.

2. Looking at the long-term picture
Many working mums seeking part-time jobs often start their own businesses, as we know. It helps to fill a gap of time while children are very young and often sleeping indiscriminately. But if the business is far removed from your original line of work, and you find that if you want to get back into that work later on, it’s not always the easy option after all.

While the initial years of child rearing can be tougher than any paid job you’ll ever do, they don’t last forever. We say you should always take a long-term view of your career.

3. Talk to a flexible recruiter
If you’re considering your career options after starting a family, self-employment isn’t necessarily the only option on the table.
More and more flexible recruiters are appearing.

Ten2Two has been operating for eleven years now as a flexible recruitment agency in Sussex and our role is specifically to recruit for professional jobs that are local. Register with Ten2Two and we’ll tell you about professional roles that are suited to your skills and experience.

4. Think wage negotiation
A tough market brings other employment concerns, like wage negotiation. The self-employed professionals we know are often being asked to reduce their rates. This can affect confidence, forcing the contractor to feel a lack of self-worth or recognition.

When you work at home by yourself, this isn’t so great. But hold your nerve – if you’re being asked to earn less than you did ten years’ ago, there’s something wrong. Say no and you won’t look back – other work usually turns up. Say yes, and it could get sticky, particularly if you face other obstacles down the line.

5. Can you work from home?
When you’re self-employed, there’s a strong chance you’ll be working from home. Yes, you can catch up on the washing, but some people find it hard to focus at home and others miss the companionship of having colleagues to talk to.

It can also make certain parts of a job more challenging, depending on what you do. Others find the time more productive, without having to do a long commute.

Still not sure whether to go self-employed?
If you’re not sure whether to go self-employed, take heart. More and more employers are seeing the benefits of flexible workers, and we’re slowly seeing a shift towards part-time senior briefs as employers get great skills for less than a full-time wage.

Ultimately, self-employment isn’t the only option on the table for working parents. It might sound cheesy, but it’s best to always take your time making your decision and stay true to yourself.

If you’d like to register with flexible recruitment agency Ten2Two Sussex, please contact Emma Cleary at 07810 541599 or email emma@ten2two.org today.
Or if you’re a business in the local area, get in touch to see how flexible workers can help your organisation this year.

Flexible working

By | Legal, Work employment
by Emma Cleary
Ten2Two Sussex

Five steps to making a flexible working request – when you’re already in a role.

If you’re in a current job but you’d like more flexibility, what should you do? Well, there’s a set procedure as outlined by ACAS that both you and your employer must adhere to when making a flexible working request. The same goes for asking for Shared Parental Leave.

We look at how you can have those tricky conversations with employers about flexibility and work-life balance.

Emma Cleary, Partner at Ten2Two Sussex says, “When you’re in a role, it can be difficult to find the right moment to discuss any changes with your employer. If your company is large, it’s likely to have a Human Resources department handling any changes to an individual’s contract. If it’s smaller, your conversation could be setting a precedent and your employer may be entering new territory for the first time.”

Choose your moment
If you work for a small company, asking for flexibility or Shared Parental Leave may feel uncomfortable but you’re within the law and it’s your right to ask, as long as you fulfil the conditions of service.

Know your rights
Look at what your company’s policy says about how requests should be made. You can find further advice from the Citizen’s Advice Bureau.

To have the statutory right to ask for flexible working arrangements, you must: be an employee and have worked for your employer continuously for 26 weeks at the date on which you make your application. For Shared Parental Leave, this needs to be at least 26 weeks up to the end of the qualifying week (the 15th week before the expected week of childbirth). You must still be employed by the same employer in the week before any Shared Parental Leave is due to start.

Be clear about what you want
There are lots of ways flexible working hours can be packaged. Think about how you want to work the time. With flexible hours, these can be anything from staggered hours to nine day fortnights. If you’re not sure, the Ten2Two website outlines these, so have a think about what it is you really want.

If you’re making a Shared Parental Leave request, who will take what time off, and when will you do it? Are you asking to have time off during a particularly busy period? An employee is entitled to submit three separate notices to book leave. For example, you could choose to come back to work to help cover a particularly busy time for the company before going on leave again afterwards.

Set it out in writing
Flexible working and Shared Parental Leave requests must be made in writing. Follow the guidelines, date it and format it. Set out what you want and when you want it to come into effect.

If seeking flexible working, add how you think this will affect the existing business and how, in your opinion, this might be dealt with. You can only make a request for flexible working once every 12 months, so it’s important to get it right. Remember to provide solutions and benefits rather than present your employer with problems.

Expect a meeting to discuss it
An employer will likely want to talk through your request, although not always. A flexible working process needs to be completed within three months of the request being initially made. You can bring a work colleague to the meeting if you wish. A Shared Parental Leave request needs to be made at least eight weeks before the leave is due to be taken.

What happens if they say no?
Your flexible working request will likely be met by one of three outcomes – either it will be accepted or your employer will suggest a compromise. In the case of rejection, your employer needs to set out clear reasons for doing so. You can appeal this and you should be offered a meeting if you feel the application wasn’t handled responsibly.

When it comes to Shared Parental Leave, leave must be taken in complete weeks and may be taken either in a continuous period, which an employer cannot refuse, or in a discontinuous period, which the employer can refuse.

Emma Clearly, Director at Ten2Two says, “It’s traditionally viewed as simpler to ask for flexible working once you’re already in a role – but that is beginning to change. Many employers are realising that flexible working is becoming accepted as a standard work practice, and a key retention tool. It’s also an important employee benefit for businesses seeking to attract new talent as the skills gap squeeze begins to bite.”

If you’d like to find a flexible career role, talk to Emma Cleary at Ten2Two Sussex today.

Contact Emma at emma@ten2two.org or call us on 07810 541599.
Ten2Two is a flexible and part-time recruitment agency providing professional staff for forward-thinking companies across Sussex and
the south of England.
Register at Ten2Two.org

 

Maternity leave – how is it spent?

By | Education, Finance, Uncategorized, Work employment

Research has revealed the top things that pregnant women plan to do during their maternity leave, with 15% stating that they plan to start their own business and become a ‘mumpreneur’. According to the poll, a third of new mums go back to work earlier than they are required to, with the majority citing ‘financial reasons’ behind their decision to return early.
The days of maternity leave being used to rest and relax, have tea breaks and bond with other new mums are long gone, according to new research that has found British women have far more ambitious plans to keep busy during their leave. Taking up a new hobbies, setting up businesses and learning a new language are among the top things that expectant mums plan to do while away from work.

The team at www.VoucherCodesPro.co.uk conducted the research as part of an ongoing study into the financial situations that Britons find themselves in. 2,319
British women aged 18 and over, all of whom stated that they had given birth in the past five years, were quizzed about their maternity leave and how they spent their time.

Initially all respondents were asked ‘How did you plan to spend your maternity leave?’ to which the most common responses were ‘taking up a new hobby’ (18%), ‘setting up a business’ (15%), ‘learning a new language’ (12%) and ‘travelling’ (9%). All respondents were then asked if they had spent their leave doing what they had planned to do, with the results revealing that half of those who wanted to set up a business did indeed become ‘mumpreneurs’ (50%) and 41% of those who wanted to learn a new language realised their dreams, though just 11% of pregnant women who planned to travel ended up venturing abroad.

All respondents were then asked ‘Did you return to work before your full maternity entitlement was up?’ to which 55% of respondents stated that they used their full entitlement, whilst the remaining respondents either made the decision to return to work early (33%) or chose not to return to work at all (11%).

Those who returned to work early, without using their full maternity entitlement, were asked to share the reasons why they had done so. When provided with a list of possible reasons and told to select all
that applied, the top five responses were as follows:

1. Financial reasons – 81%
2. Needed more adult company in the day – 70%
3. Worried about long-term job security – 52%
4. My child was in day-care, and it gave me something to do – 46%
5. I felt the company needed me back – 39%

All respondents who had returned to work were then asked ‘Did your return to work go as you had planned?’ to which 74% admitted that it hadn’t. When asked to elaborate, 44% of those who planned to return to work full-time ended up returning part-time, compared to 13% who planned to return to work
part-time and ended up working full-time.

George Charles, spokesperson for www.VoucherCodesPro.co.uk, made the following comments: “It’s fantastic to see that so many women are using their maternity leave to do something positive. Obviously they’re already doing something incredible, by raising a child, but it’s important that they take the time to do something for themselves at the same time. Taking up a hobby, meeting new people and studying something new, these are great ways to pass the time, keep occupied and also get your child engaging with others too. They’ll also leave you in a better position when it comes to returning to the working world – assuming that’s something you wish to do.”