A comment on a LinkedIn post of mine earlier this week about images of working mothers in the media not helping the case for flexible working, drew a fair bit of attention. Put into Google the two words "Working Mother" and search the images. You'll see tens of Caucasian women, in the kitchen, sitting at a laptop, in a suit, with a baby on the lap, phone attached to face, with the table covered in confidential documents and perhaps not surprisingly therefore leaving you wondering if that mug isn't filled with Pinot Grigio. This is so far from the truth it could almost be satirically funny, if it wasn't actually so damaging. We are having increasingly intelligent debate about flexible working, so why does the media continue to peddle this totally unrealistic image?
I once had a boss who said he viewed a request to work from home as an excuse to watch day time TV and do the washing while you waited in for Sainsburys. Sadly this is what a lot of hiring managers must think when we talk about working from home or flexible working.
As someone who has launched a business from home, working around nursery hours, weekends, nap times and late nights, I can assure you this could not be further from the truth.
Today our new website launches featuring real images of professional women who also happen to be mums. They are not dressed for a photo shoot but for real work. The photos were taken at a networking event organised by my company. And because we specialise in finding roles for working parents, we invited people and said children were welcome. But out of 15 mums only one brought her baby - he was less than a year old and she was still on maternity leave (just in case there's any doubt about commitment).
Recruitment is a people business and we need to start talking about the reality of being a working parent, committed to your family and your career. We need to show real people, who are making it work, who are fully committed and present when they are at work and have jumped through hoops to find these jobs that offer flexibility...so they are not likely to jeopardise that by "winging it" with the childcare and "shirking" from home!
If you'd like to talk to us about the talented people we know who could add real value to your business if you are open to discussing some aspect of flexibility then do take a look at our new website www.feelcommunications.co.uk and get in touch.