Could a Virtual Office Make You a Better Parent?

BOULDER, CO—Could a virtual office make you a better parent? Many parents are convinced the answer is yes.

According to a recent FlexJobs “Parents & Work,” although 91 percent of today’s parents “need” to work, 76 percent of these parents also "want" to work. Unfortunately, 96 percent agree that traditional full-time jobs conflict with important parts of taking care of families.

Sick children is one common example of that work-life conflict. Eighty-one percent of parents have missed work to take care of a sick child and 58 percent have worried about losing pay or their job because of it. Allowing employees to telecommute from a virtual office when kids are sick can solve that problem.

As a result of the fear of losing a job, 42 percent of parents have chosen to miss important events in their childrens' lives and 57 percent have used sick time or paid time off to attend those events. However, this group of job seeking parents is also optimistic, with 81 percent saying they can be both great parents and employees if given flexible work options. Virtual offices are part and parcel of many flexible work arrangements.

When asked what the most important factor in their next job is, respondents overwhelmingly chose flexible work options as most important (89%), followed by pay (50%), then feeling good about the company, the people and the corporate culture (44%), having a relatively short commute (36%), finding a job in line with their career path (34%), and finding a challenging job (33%).

“I think that employers should really be paying attention when parents in this day and age choose workplace flexibility over money,” says Sara Sutton Fell, CEO of FlexJobs. "Many employers—and even job-seekers—think these jobs are on the fringe of the employment market, but with technology making it so much easier to work from anywhere and anytime, it just isn’t true anymore. Seventy-five percent of those surveyed know another parent who has a telecommuting or flexible job. This generation of parents is focused on balancing their professional and family obligations, and they don’t want to let one overrun the other."

The demographics of this study showed parents who want workplace flexibility are overwhelmingly well-educated (82% have a college degree), they're married (81%) women (93%) between 30 and 49 years of age (79%), and they are "experienced" professionals (say 57%, followed by "manager" at 26% and "executive" at 9%).


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