Last week we were delighted to formally launch our 2019 Modern Families Index in Westminster and to share the insightful findings from this year’s survey with over 50 representatives from leading organisations and groups.
Along with delegates, it was fantastic to be joined by three MPs from three major political parties: Jo Swinson, MP; David Lammy, MP; and Maria Miller, MP who each shared their thoughts on the topics raised in the report.
It was certainly an energetic and thought-provoking discussion with questions from audience, each eager to hear the views of the speakers and delighted to have a cross-party agreement on solving the challenges facing today’s working families.
So, what are the key takeaways from the event?
There was one key theme running through all discussions and that was that we must work together if we are to make a meaningful difference. Regardless of political party, Remainer or Leaver and gender, David Lammy made the case for a less silo approach to considerations around modern family life, flexible working and policy.
In today’s fast paced world, technology is part and parcel to everyday life. For half of families in the Index, technology has helped them to obtain a better work-life balance however, almost a third (31%) remain equivocal and a fifth felt it harmed their work-life balance. While it was agreed that technology is an enabler in providing flexibility for employees there were significant concerns around its use and how it must be carefully managed – not dissimilar to the tobacco industry in the 50s and 60s, as one attendee noted.
For employers, the benefits of technology must be carefully considered alongside the risk of it facilitating work to expand into family time.
For leading employers there is never a question around the policies they provide to their employees – from enhanced parental leave to flexible working. However, there is a growing concern that while policies may be in place, there can be a disconnection when it comes to practice.
Line manager training and advertising jobs as flexible are just two of the simple actions recommended at the event for employers. And more interestingly, Jo Swinson raised the suggestion for organisations to publish their policies online – offering transparency for perspective employees and creating a benchmark for employers.
We’re all excited to be launching our 2019 Modern Families Index: Employers Report in May – offering additional insights for employers and providing a roadmap to creating and sustaining a family-friendly workplace.