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Mum power

Mum power

Flexible working key to keeping valuable returning mums in the workforce

New Zealand, 27 May 2014 – “A truly equal world would be one where women ran half our countries and companies and men ran half our homes,” wrote Sheryl Sandberg in her book, Lean In. New research by Regus, the global workplace provider, confirmed that mind-sets are rapidly changing as 84% of New Zealand businesses reported that the companies who will not employ women returning from maternity leave are in fact missing out.

Far from returning with an obsolete address book and a rusty memory, working mums bring valuable skills and expertise, according to 57% of New Zealand 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, part-time roles and the option to video conference over business travel at least some of the time are among the top strategies to get more mothers back into the workforce.

Key findings show that:
· 63% of New Zealand respondents reported that more women are demanding to work remotely when they return to the workforce;

· Perhaps due to increasing financial pressures, 41% of those surveyed said they are seeing women take shorter maternity leave (under 3 months);

· 48% said working closer to home is a key incentive;

· 89% reported that working flexible hours 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,[1] and that companies with more women on the board are more profitable[2], Country Manager for Regus Nick Bradshaw, said it is high time that New Zealand companies address the issue of how to adapt business practices to better suit working mothers.

“It is vital for businesses to support mothers returning after maternity leave – the evidence highlights they indeed bring vital skills to the workplace,” he said.

“There are various methods that mothers are asking for that will benefit both the business and the working mother. These are flexible working hours, the opportunity to work closer to home or to families, or the ability to choose video conferencing over business travel. It is flexible strategies like these that are key to helping more women back into the workforce and ultimately drive businesses forward – it’s important to keep up with the way practices are changing.”

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