If you have a flexible working arrangement, you probably already know how much extra work goes into keeping the holy grail of employment.
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Finding a part-time job with flexible working hours is like the holy grail of every working parent.
Having work hours that are flexible often means you don't have to pay for before and after school care. Or when you have a sick kid off school for a day, working a different day that week instead preserves your sick leave.
There are many benefits to being able to plan your work hours around your family. But there's one downside, and if you're fortunate enough to have a flexible part-time job, you probably already know what it is.
It seems we can't have it all... Image: iStock.
Extra hours, same money
According to a recent study by Dr Heejung Chung from the University of Kent working with Dr Mariska van der Horst from the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, mothers who have a flexible working arrangement known as 'schedule control' in a part-time role work an average 20 minutes unpaid overtime per week.
'Schedule control' is where workers are able to determine their own hours and schedules, as long as their job get done.
"What’s a good investment? Go home from work early and spend the afternoon throwing a ball around with your son." - Ben Stein on CNN
The data, which was gathered from Understanding Society surveys that were carried out between 2010-2015, suggests this increase may be because part-time working mothers feel the need to work longer to compensate for the possible stigma associated with part-time working mothers.
Imagine you work a half day and are leaving the office as everyone else is returning from lunch. There is a perception, whether intended or not, that the part-time mother with the flexible hours is getting somewhat of an easy ride.
There's a stigma surrounding working mothers who leave work early. Image: iStock.
Stigma has been documented
Stigma felt by those working part-time has been well documented in previous research by Dr Chung, with more than half of mothers who have worked part-time believing it has had a negative impact on their career progression.
It's rather unfortunate, that the sort of working arrangement which should facilitate more favourable family time while allowing parents to contribute to the household finances, is working against those of us who work.
Create tech-free zones. Keep family mealtimes, other family and social gatherings, and children's bedrooms screen free. Turn off televisions that you aren't watching, because background TV can get in the way of face-to-face time with kids. Recharge devices overnight—outside your child's bedroom to help him or her avoid the temptation to use them when they should be sleeping. These changes encourage more family time, healthier eating habits, and better sleep.
Dr Chung, from Kent's School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research, told Science Daily, "More control over your work is supposed to make life easier for workers, particularly those with children. However, it is clear that for many, blurring the boundaries between work and home life expands work to be longer, even when it is unpaid. Employers need to be aware of this and ensure staff are not over-stretching themselves and undoing the benefits of flexible working."