Is poor childcare pushing women into home working?

Women are choosing to work from home due to childcare constraints and the desire to see more of their family, research reveals.

In a survey conducted by Reed Commercial, one-quarter of female home workers said they decided to work from home because the standard office hours did not fit around the school schedule, or they wanted to spend more time with their family, reduce childcare costs or fit work around their family, as opposed to fitting their family around work. One respondent said the reason they decided to work from home was “flexibility, I’m a single parent with three children, it saves on childcare costs [and] I get to do the school run.”

The wider desire for flexibility was a strong reason for many women to work from home. In the survey of some 400 UK home workers (263 of which were women), one-third of the female respondents said the flexibility of home working was a key reason why they chose to work in this way. Drilling down a little deeper, many respondents cited the ability to choose their own working hours, be their own boss, lose the office politics and have control over their work environment as reasons to work from home.

Expectation also matched the reality for female workers. When asked what the actual benefits are when home working, almost half of the respondents cited the flexibility and freedom that comes with this way of working. Of these respondents, many said they enjoyed the opportunity to multi-task when working from home, whether that be doing a bit of housework and gardening or being able to walk the family dog.

Other benefits of working from home include the lack of commute and the time and money that is saved as a result, according to one-quarter of respondents. A handful, some five per cent, said they actually chose to work from home to avoid the daily commute. The lack of commute also has a knock-on effect for working mothers, as one respondent added: “For me, it [working from home] allows me to be a working mum and, although the baby is with a childminder, I can still work full-time as I don’t commute.”

Rising childcare costs, both for infants and school children who may need to attend breakfast and after school clubs, makes working from home a convenient option for many parents. If you work a 9-5 full-time job and have a one-hour commute at the start and end of each day, it means your child needs care between 8-6. That’s 10 hours a day for a preschooler and, with most school days running 9-3, an additional four hours per day for school children.

There’s no such issue for home workers – who can do the school run, work during family-friendly hours and be at home for the school holidays. This OnePoll survey conducted by Reed Commercial is a clear indication of a very modern problem – how can you find personal and financial balance when you’re a working parent?

Image: homeworking parent via Shutterstock


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