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5 Important reasons women need flexible work options

Manon DeFelice is the founder and CEO of Inkwell, a startup that matches accomplished professionals with companies that need top talent on a flexible basis. Through Inkwell, women get the opportunity to build their professional portfolio...

Why flexible work schedules are the future

News flash: The traditional 9-to-5 work day and 40-hour workweek are slowly becoming a thing of the past. Modern professionals are moving toward more flexible work hours, finding a flex-work scenario more productive and a better way to achieve work-life balance.

Women, in particular, have a lot to gain from flex work. Often forced to choose between a job that consumes all of their time or the chance to stay involved in their children’s lives, too many women leave the workforce. The result is a brain drain — a loss of fantastically brilliant women from companies that need their talents. I’ve seen it happen time and again, and that’s why I founded Inkwell—a forward-thinking recruiting and staffing firm that connects accomplished women with flexible yet high-level jobs that allow them to craft their own schedules.

Sounds good, right? Here are five reasons why flex work is the way to go for women.

1. Paid maternity leave is not always enough

Lately, progressive groups have been lobbying hard for paid parental leave. It’s a worthy goal — after all, the United States is the only developed nation in the world that doesn’t mandate some form of paid leave. But it’s a short-term solution, as 12 weeks of paid leave doesn’t cover the many years of parenting that lie ahead. Women need solutions that will carry them through the nearly two decades that it takes to raise one child — let alone multiple kids.

More: 3 Reasons we need to support startups by women

2. Part-time doesn’t really cut it

Some would equate flex work with “part-time,” but part-time, I believe, is a misnomer. At Inkwell, we often place high-level professional women in 20-hour workweek positions — with the belief that 20 hours a week from an unbelievably qualified candidate is much more valuable than 40 hours from a less-experienced worker who doesn't have nearly as much to offer. We also place candidates that work 40+ hours a week on a flexible schedule.

3. Flex work helps you keep your skills fresh

When it comes to your career, it shouldn’t be all or nothing. Working on a flexible schedule helps women maintain the skills they acquired through years of education, job experience and accomplishment. By staying in the game, they not only keep their skills intact but gain new ones too — and they remain engaged for the long term.

More: 6 Effective and practical business coaching tips for women

4. Flex work is more productive

This one might come as a surprise: Experts are finding that working on a flexible schedule actually makes people more productive and creative in their careers. Some researchers have suggested that a 25-hour week is ideal for knowledge workers. It’s a mistake to think that the only value you bring to a job is dependent on the number of hours you work. Sometimes, less really is more.

5. Flexibility is the wave of the future

With rapidly changing technologies at our fingertips, and a world that grows more globally connected every minute, it’s natural that we’re moving toward a work schedule that’s more free-flowing and less dependent on the clock. Thankfully, such a schedule is a great boon for women — who can balance work and family in a way that’s deeply fulfilling and rewarding in the long run.

More: How I finally realized being a workaholic isn't a good thing

Manon DeFelice is the founder and CEO of Inkwell, a startup that matches accomplished professionals with companies that need top talent on a flexible basis. She is a mom of three young children and lives with her family in Old Greenwich, CT. Check out her Inkwell pitch on SheKnows!

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