Two entrepreneurs’ advice for businesses employing single parents

The founders of a marketing agency and a holiday business share their advice for improving working conditions for single parents.

woman working mum

There are nearly three million lone-parent families in the UK yet many employers fail to have the right processes and flexibility in place to enable single patents to thrive at work.

Here, former marketer Clare Jones, who founded marketing agency Clare Jones London, and Chrissie Lewandowski, founder of holiday business Single with Kids – who are single parents themselves – explain what businesses should do to enable better working environments for one-parent families.

Fighting your corner at work

Clare Jones, founder, Clare Jones London

“I rose through the ranks in professional services to marketing director level but for personal reasons took a career break because I wanted the opportunity to do something more creative.

“We are in a changing industry. I became a chartered marketer in 2000 and went back to work when my baby was six-months-old. I was told there was no flexibility, I had to come back full time. The system has come on leaps and bounds now.

“It was really difficult managing the pressure of being a single parent – the school holidays were particularly challenging. As a marketer, things happen at work that aren’t planned and, not having live-in childcare, I would have to leave the office to deal with it. It doesn’t look good leaving on the dot of six but I had no choice. I don’t know how much of that impinged on my reputation.

“What work means will have to change. Trust is at the heart of this. With advanced analytics we can measure employees’ output better and an output-based society would be better for everyone.

“Our generation will be working a lot longer and, even if you have taken time out for the children, you still have 20 or 30 years to work afterwards so you don’t want to feel left on the scrap heap. Even on career breaks, through social media like LinkedIn you can still be seen to be contributing to the conversation.

“If you’re a passionate marketer, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t still be checking stuff out. We have to build our personal brands and reputation online and through social media to protect our long-term career prospects.”

Accommodating single parents

Chrissie Lewandowski, founder, Single with Kids

“The staff that we employ are all single parents. It’s important for the level of empathy and understanding needed for our customers. We can’t have a recently bereaved lone parent trying to deal only with an automated booking system.

“It’s a tight team and there is always someone who knows the customer – it’s part of the service. That is what single parents need. It is an internet business so we have to be available to customers at all times.

“I left my previous position because, even though I would be working four days per week officially, I was always standing in the park on the fifth day sorting some issue out over the phone.

“Even if you don’t work 9am to 5pm and have to be flexible, it still needs to suit families. It suits me to respond to queries at 10pm but it also means that someone isn’t trying to pick their kids up and deal with an issue at the same time.

“Adding stress to a normal working day for any parent isn’t going to help and they won’t focus. If their child is sick, we can work around it and they will catch up.

“We have been stuck in a work pattern that was established in the 1950s. Commuting is now horrible and home workers aren’t stressed and stuck in dreadful traffic. Basically, as long as there is Wi-Fi, we are all OK.”

Latest from Marketing Week


Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now


Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.


From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.


Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3703 or email

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here