"A truly equal world would be one where women ran half our countries and companies and men ran half our homes,” writes Sheryl Sandberg in her book, Lean In. Latest research by Regus, the flexible workspace provider, confirms that mind-sets are rapidly changing as 78% of Singaporean firms report that companies that won’t employ women returning from maternity leave are missing out.
Far from returning with an obsolete address book and a rusty memory, working moms bring valuable skills and expertise, say 67% of Singaporean businesses. These are the key findings of the latest research by Regus that canvassed the opinions of more than 19,000 business owners and senior managers in 98 countries.
Respondents reported that flexible hours, working closer to home and the option to video conference instead of travelling at least some of the time are among the top strategies to get more mothers back into the workforce.
More than half (58%) of Singaporean respondents report that more women are demanding to work remotely when they return to the workforce.
Perhaps due to increasing financial pressures, 58% of those surveyed say they are seeing women take shorter maternity leave (under 3 months).
The report also revealed that 43% say working closer to home is a key incentive; while 40% report that the option to video conference instead of travelling would help returning mothers.
“With reports highlighting that the non-participation of women in the economy is costing as much as 27% per capita GDP in some countries, and that companies with more women on the board are more profitable, it is high time that businesses address the issue of how to adapt working practices to better suit working mothers," says Paul MacAndrew, Country Manager, Regus Singapore.
“Businesses do not hesitate to attribute value to working mothers, but when they return after maternity leave they often find that juggling professional and personal duties can be very demanding, if not impossible. It is not surprising, therefore, that more and more mums are asking for flexible working. Whether it’s flexible-hours, the opportunity to work closer to home or to their families at least some of the time, or the option to choose video conferencing over business travel, these changes incentives are key to helping more women back into employment and driving the workplace into the future.”