The integration of family and career still poses several challenges and is not easily achievable for all employees. The solution: flexible working models. They can help to combine both family and work by promoting a work-life balance. emovis is also moving toward the direction of providing flexible working and has asked some employees about this. Read our blog post to find out which forms of flexible working are possible and what added value they offer employers and employees.
In 2019, there were 6.9 million mothers and 5.9 million fathers of working age (15 to 64 years old) in Germany. These lived in a joint household with at least one biological child or a stepchild, foster child or adopted child under the age of 15 years old. This means that approximately 1 in 6 working-age people living in Germany face the challenge of combining family and career. Those who want the best of both, but still want to maintain a balance, get to feel first-hand how difficult the coexistence of these two important life areas can be.
Whether for financial and/or personal reasons, the image of parents working full or part time is no longer unusual. Nevertheless, reconciliation, or rather integration of both family and work, is still not easy to achieve for everyone. Although it is a hot topic of discussion and openly demanded, it is clear that a lot still needs to happen, both within companies and politically. Nevertheless, there have already been some small changes, especially in the last 2 years, that have made it easier for families to combine both. The Corona pandemic caused an ad hoc upheaval in the world of work, where remote/hybrid working, home office and video conferencing are now no longer exceptions. Although working from home also brings dangers, such as mental overload or loneliness, it also enables many parents to organize their daily lives more efficiently and thus also to consider a work-life balance.
The importance of flexible working models
Since family responsibilities and working hours often coincide, parents are increasingly dependent on things such as childcare options, but also flexible working models in the form of working time accounts, part-time models or the home office model. Statistics from the Federal Statistical Office (Destatis) from 2020 show the full- and part-time rates of employed men and women with children under the age of 6:
71,9 % part-time
7,6 % part-time
28,1 % full-time
92,4 % full-time
This shows that 2/3 of all mothers work part-time, whereas almost all fathers work full-time. The reasons for this may be diverse, but one thing is clear from this survey: the relevance of flexible working models, as for example part-time work, is very high.
emovis is committed to offering its employees flexible working time models, such as part-time work. An internal employee survey also revealed that employees with children prefer part-time as a work model to combine career and family, like Saskia K., a doctor at the study site and mother of two children aged 13 and 16. "This allows me to see my children in the afternoon or evening and also still eat with them." Whether it's picking up from school and extracurricular activities or caring for children, the ability to work flexible hours is necessary not only for couples, but especially for single parents.
However, a flexible work model does not only include the option for part-time employment, but also the flexible arrangement of working hours during the day like flexitime. Flexitime allows employees to determine the start, end and the length of their working hours within a defined flexitime framework. This creates a freedom that promotes the compatibility of family and career.
Trust-based working time is also a flexible working model. Here, no fixed working hours are agreed with the employees. Instead, the focus is on achieving certain goals/results within a certain time period. When the employee chooses to accomplishes this is irrelevant in this model. The prerequisites for this model are achievable goals/results and good time management on the employee’s part.
Statistics from the Federal Statistical Office (Destatis) from 2021 show the employment rate of mothers and fathers according to the number of children:
Number of Children
3 Children or more
The employment rates of parents show the extent to which fathers, and especially mothers, are withdrawing from the labor force in the course of family formation. This clearly shows that the employment rate for mothers decreases the more children they have, while it remains quite high for fathers. Simultaneously, this illustrates the need for a flexible working model in the form of part-time, flexitime, etc., so that the integration of family and career can be guaranteed at all times, irrespective of the number of children.
emovis also gives its employees the opportunity to arrange their own working hours in the form of trust-based working hours, flexitime or shift models. Whether on-site, in a home office or remotely, the main thing is that one's own tasks are completed to the best of one's knowledge and ability. That's how Tatiana B., assistant to the director of the study site and mother of 2 children aged 11 and 15, sees it: "With a little planning, organization and foresight, I can get my work done in the office and at home. If family matters require my presence at home, emovis allows me to work from home." Thomas L. also organizes his working hours flexibly to accommodate for his work-life balance. He is the father of a 3-year-old son and works as a full-time study nurse in the study site. However, he usually starts his workday very early so that he can pick up his son from day-care in the afternoon. Due to the size of the company, emovis is not yet able to provide all-day childcare, but emovis employees were given the option of childcare on certain days when the public kindergartens were closed due to the pandemic.
Flexible working models are becoming increasingly important and are subject to constant change over time. In which direction are our models developing? The advance of digitization can also simplify processes and even make them accessible for some. The remote working model is thus becoming more and more attractive for many employees. Furthermore, more and more concepts are emerging in the direction of job sharing or job splitting, in which a full-time position is divided between two employees. This creates another form of part-time work. Sabbaticals are also becoming increasingly attractive. Here, employees can save up vacation time or partially forgo their salary and instead take a longer period of leave (usually between 1 month and 1 year). In this context, there are already some companies that integrate the model of unlimited leave as a measure of flexible working in their companies. This model is one of the newest and most flexible working models in 2022, where employees can take leave at any time, provided that the work is done and distributed fairly, so that there is always at least one employee per department at the workplace. These companies are therefore focusing on autonomous vacation planning, which, according to current results, has a positive effect on employee satisfaction, commitment and ultimately also on productivity. Such advantages also offer a good opportunities to acquire new and young talent.
Added value for both sides
It is clear that the framework conditions for reconciling family and career in Germany are still in process and should be constantly reviewed and adapted. Nevertheless, there are already numerous regulations that make it possible for mothers and fathers to combine both work and family. This should be seen as progress, because clear, transparent positioning leads to added value for employers and employees. It strengthens the element of trust in a relationship and can reduce the fluctuation rate of employees by increasing their loyalty to the company. Meeting the demands of the job without having to neglect the needs of the family should therefore be in the interest of every employer. Nevertheless, it is important to note that the existence of transparent rules and structures is essential, but so are individual decisions, depending on the family situation. This is also emphasized by Monica K. the HR Manager at emovis. "The HR department can always be a point of contact if someone wants to discuss something. We may not have all the answers, but we are always ready to help our mothers and fathers."
- 2 www.destatis.de/DE/Themen/Arbeit/Arbeitsmarkt/Qualitaet-Arbeit/Dimension-3/eltern-teilzeitarbeit.html