Guest Blog by Dr. Ellen Joan Nelson
Why employing staff during school hours will improve staff retention, productivity, innovation, inclusion and diversity, staff well-being and ultimately, profits.
Following my PhD research, which focused on the experiences of women in the workplace, I conducted an unintentional, further, research project focusing on the experiences of working parents, primarily mums. The stories from these parents fall into two broad categories, with a
relatively even split between the two. Parents either:
- return to work full-time and resent the fact that they barely see their children during waking hours in the week, as well as the associated financial cost of childcare.
- Or they negotiate some kind of part-time arrangement, where they work less hours, to spend more time with their children. This comes with a corresponding reduction in their pay.
However, their workload or outputs are not reduced.
What is the cause of these two disappointing outcomes? I believe it is the mismatch between the work schedule and the school schedule. It seems crazy that we live in a modern-day society where the adults and the children have different schedules!
So I thought, why not try and align the two schedules, by reducing the workday for all staff (without reducing salaries), and making more accommodations over the school holiday periods? #workschoolhours.
Now, this is where things get really exciting. This is not just a nice ‘pie in the sky’ idea, aimed at making things better for staff (parents and non-parents), as well as wider society – which it would do.
There is actually a business case to do it, and organisations love a good business case!
There is plenty of research to support that outputs can be achieved in less than 40 hours. For example, the 4-day-work-week movement is already demonstrating this increase in productivity. The most productive members in the workforce are often part-time workers, as they are already completing their workload in less time. Further, if the stress regarding the misalignment of work and school could be taken away from working parents, just imagine how much happier they would be at work, how much more innovative and creative they would be, how much better their focus and concentration would be?
We know that staff well-being is important, not just because we care about our staff (which we should), but because it also impacts organisational performance. Happier staff generate more profits. Imagine the competitive advantage you could achieve, by being able to
attract and retain the most talented staff, if your organisation operated within school hours?
There are significant benefits to structuring roles around school hours, and employing highly talented working parents. To listen to the full #workschoolhours talk, click here: https://www.ellenjoannelson.com/workschoolhours/