Many mothers struggle with feelings of guilt when they return to work. They also have to deal with the sense that they are somehow less productive if they come back to the workplace on a part-time basis. The truth is, however, that working mothers are more productive than other employees are and women who work part-time are even more productive. In the corporate world, senior managers are routinely sent on Six Sigma Yellow Belt training courses to improve their productivity levels. This type of comprehensive training is very effective at reducing waste and improving overall productivity.
Efficiency in the Workplace
Working women, however, are already excellent at problem solving and being more efficient. Working women have to use their time wisely. Juggling childcare, household chores and the demands of a difficult job requires a lot of time management skill. Unless you are highly organized, things soon begin to unravel. As any working mother knows, trying to get three children under the age of ten ready for school so you can arrive at the office on time is no mean feat.
Do Flexible Working Hours Equal Less Ambition?
There is a common misconception that working mothers who ask for flexible hours are less ambitious than colleagues are. In reality, this is not the case at all. In a survey commissioned by Ernst & Young, 64% of young working women who enjoyed flexible working arrangements claimed to have a clear career path whereas only 10% of women who had fixed working hours said the same.
Flexible working hours enable women to juggle childcare, family commitments and work. Women with young children cannot be in the office for 7AM meetings because they need to take their children to school or nursery. They also struggle with meetings at the end of the day for the same reason. Because they have less time to complete essential tasks, they tend to procrastinate less during the day. Therefore, instead of wasting time catching up on social media, they get on with the job at hand.
How to be More Productive at Work
* Schedule important tasks for the morning – Most people are more productive in the morning, so it makes sense to accomplish most of the important tasks when your brain is more alert. Save pointless meetings for the afternoon, when you do not have to focus as much.
* Write lists – Our memories are not always reliable, so write down everything that you need to accomplish and assign it a level of importance.
* Learn to say “no” – Most women struggle with the concept of saying “no”, so we inevitably end up committing to far more than we are capable of doing. Learn to have boundaries and don’t let other people put on you too much.
The next time a colleague implies you are less productive because you work part-time or flexi-time, ask them how much they accomplish in the average day and explain what you are normally expected to do. That should make them think a little.