It’s not the end of the road when you ask for FWA

By Sher-li Torrey (Mums@Work Singapore) 

We often hear mothers tell us that they are hesitant to ask for a Flexible Work Arrangement, for fear that it will mark the end of an ascending career path.

The good news is that having a Flexible Work Arrangement does not mean the end of your climb to the top. The traditional way of looking at one’s career path is an upward-trending ladder. However, in this day and age, our careers paths are more fluid. With global movements (including possible overseas postings), many executives find that their path to the top is no longer a clear, one-way linear track.

In the same way, career women who have become mothers can choose to see their corporate journey in a different light. Deloitte consulting famously introduced the Corporate Lattice as a new way of work.

Under this new way of working, mothers can look at taking on new roles (that allow for Flexible Work Arrangements) – these new roles might expand her skills and abilities. For example, a corporate strategic planner in an MNC may need to travel less. If she asks for a part-time role, she can (perhaps) request for a role that allows her to stay in the local office more often, and still uses her skills. Her supervisor might then choose to transfer her to training of new planners and more office-management work.

The mother can see this as an expansion of her skills. A few years later, if she chooses to take on full-time work again, she now has the option of either progressing as a Corporate Strategic Planner (resuming her old role) or move into Corporate Training within her L&D team.

What mothers, requesting for Flexible Work Arrangements, should remind their supervisors — there are many ways to progress in an organisation and to be able to contribute meaningfully to it.

In addition, as an individual, the mum-worker is picking up new skills which increases her job security (and employ-ability) in the future.

It’s a win-win situation and difficult to turn down. So think about what your skills are and where your interest may be. Remember – you have more to offer the company than you realise!

Image taken from “The Corporate Lattice” – Deloitte Review on


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