Returning to work as a parent

As a mother of two and founder of WorkingMums.co.uk, Gillian Nissim says she knows what it is like to try to get back into work and start a business after having a child. SmallBusiness.co.uk asked her to touch on some of the issues faced by mums returning to work and offer some insights.

So what is WorkingMums.co.uk?

On our site, mums can register for free and upload a career profile. There’s a database of jobs, employers and business opportunities that offers alternatives to traditional Monday to Friday roles for parents looking to return to work. There’s a huge variety of skills on there and many of them are of an amazing quality.

From the employers point of view, it’s also hard to find experienced and committed people on a part-time basis, or for a short-term project, cost effectively. So we aim to provide just that sort of candidate.

What are the practical issues that mums face when starting to work for freelance?

Well, it’s anything from finding a balance between work and home life, which can be a challenge in itself, to the difficulties of finding quality, reliable childcare that you can actually afford. Not every employer is willing to accommodate flexible working, but it’s a trend that is on the increase. Over the past year, we’ve seen the volume of companies offering less rigid types of working increase, probably because people are realising that a happy employee is more productive.

Are there other benefits over and above smiling staff?

Of course, home-based workers reduce your office overheads greatly and with the technology that’s available to us today, it’s much easier to track and to stay in contact.

If you find a mum who has ten years’ experience in her field for a short-term project, for instance, you’re also going to save money on training, which you would clearly have to give to an inexperienced temp. It’s much more cost-effective.

You mentioned childcare, any tips there for people who have kids wanting to start a business?

Finding quality childcare up to school age is usually quite manageable, but it’s after that that people can struggle. It’s things like school runs and that period between your child finishing school and you getting home from work that can be really difficult. It also depends on the sort of work you’re doing. For instance, even people who are home-based can find that their time is taken up with work, so it doesn’t necessarily negate the need for childcare – that’s an important consideration to be aware of.

Any other things that people should consider?

I’d say that you should know your rights and the rights of the people who are contracting you. If you’re thinking of going freelance or running your own business from home you’ll be much better positioned if you can go to an employer with a proposal that will work for both you and them. Understanding the legal side of things and having all the paperwork in order are a big part of that, as are open communication and loyalty.

For more information visit WorkingMums.co.uk.

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