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by Louise Deverell-Smith

Doesn’t time fly!

The Daisy Chain is a year old.  And what a year it has been!  I feel so privileged to have made it this far and I can’t thank you enough for supporting me. It’s been busy, challenging, surprising, inspiring. But most of all it’s been fun.   

I started The Daisy Chain because I wanted things to change.  I wanted to help mums and dads find their balance between work and family life.  I wanted to help talented men and women find challenging jobs they love.  I wanted to do something to make sure that business didn’t lose the drive, knowledge, perspective and maturity that parents bring to the workforce.  I wanted to help parents because I know from first-hand experience that finding the right job while also juggling childcare commitments is difficult.  

In the past year we have managed to make over three thousand matches and we have partnered with over 65 family-friendly companies – a number that is continually growing.  I’m having an increasing number of positive conversations with decision makers and business owners.  I know that more of you are finding it easier to have constructive conversations about the type of flexible work you need to build your career alongside your family lives. But there is still a job to be done.  

We’ve recently commissioned some research which found that despite the proven benefits of flexible working, people are still facing barriers when it comes to negotiating their contracts. Managers are hesitant to allow flexibility because of trust (14%), cost (12%), previous bad experiences (12%) and a misguided concern that it will lead to a lack of team morale or engagement (11%). 

Of the people we questioned, almost half (47%) believed that a range of flexible working options should be offered by companies as a basic right for all. So what does this mean? 

At the moment the onus is on you – the employee – to request, justify and prove why you should be allowed a flexible contract while companies have the legal know-how to find ways to reject that request if it suits them. But we think it should be up to senior managers to challenge the status quo and affect change.  Why can’t all jobs that can be flexible, be considered flexible from the outset?  So the conversation is not about whether you can do it but how you do it? 

If flexible working data was included in next year’s gender pay gap reporting then this would further increase the transparency that is vital to your conversations.  And I believe it would go some way to eliminating the stigma that surrounds flexible working, taking us one step closer to making it the accepted norm. 

Let’s continue to work together to build our Daisy Chain and get even more people into work that works for them, their children, their partners, their families.  

Here’s to our next 12 months (and beyond…)! 

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