Work and life balance and everything in between
Life as a working parent is armed with a juggling act of blending work and life hours together to create a cycle that works for their profession and families. According to Gallup, Americans with children under the age of 18 are more likely to report feeling stressed for having not enough time than those without children.
Why do so many people at work still equate hours worked with increased productivity at the cost of their health, well-being, and relationships?
Trying to schedule an equal number of hours for each of your work and personal activities is usually unrewarding. Research from Care.com showed that 62 percent of employees would leave a stressful job for better benefits, while a Glassdoor survey revealed that four out five workers would take other benefits over a pay raise.
Millennials will acquire 75% of the US workforce by 2025 — and they’ve already shown that flexibility and paid leave matter a lot to them.
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Table of Contents
What is work-life balance?
With the millennial generation of workers projected to take up 75% of the workforce by 2025, many leaders are on the way to redefine what work-life balance looks like. It is a big part of a healthy work environment.
Working parents have to be great at everything: flying high at work, raising great kids, living a healthy nutritious life, going on holidays, and all the while having a sorted life. They’ve to be all things to all people and doing all this in a balance is a work-life balance. That’s exhausting!
How do you find your work-life balance as a working parent? Everything seems to be hanging by a thread— job, family life, and sanity. While you will never find one magical answer that solves the problem, there are things that can be done from both sides: employees and employers that can make things a little more manageable.
Work-life balance at work for working parents
The process of being a working parent is so uniquely complicated and designed with unforeseen circumstances. In the New York Times article, researchers found that “women underestimate the costs of motherhood. The mismatch is biggest for those with college degrees, who invest in an education and expect to maintain a career.”
Let’s see what are the steps to work and life balance:
- Flexible days to fit real life
Georgene Huang, CEO, and Co-Founder of Fairygodboss explains,
“One of the biggest things employers are doing to accommodate working parents is the availability of flexible work schedules.”
For example, parents have a busy schedule that revolves around their children and unexpected events to life. There is no prediction of when they get sick or injured and other activities that can fill a parents’ calendar with unplanned events you’d want to attend. Companies should provide flexibility for parents to be happier and more productive while having a balanced life.
Sarah Jackson, chief executive of Working Families – the UK’s work and life balance charity said, younger parents are “on shaky ground” because working life is not in line with their needs.
So companies should focus on creating an environment that enables flexibility (from work from home days to relaxed hours) for working parents. Parents need the space because a traditional 9–5 schedule isn’t exactly favorable to manage the things, get their stuff done and meet deadlines. Build a ‘you do you’ vibe, which would be really kind for a working parent.
- Create a supportive culture
Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer of Facebook and founder of Leanin.org, said in an interview,
“I would change our working culture to help women in the workplace. From a culture that teaches all of us that men should achieve and women should support others to the truth that everyone should achieve and everyone should support others.”
Create a culture that values a healthy work-life balance and makes working moms and dads feel comfortable at their work.
- Parental leave including maternal, paternal, and adoption leave
- Comprehensive health plan and wellness program
- Employee assistance programs
- Create perks for working parents who are giving in extra
If moms feel judged stepping out of the office for that appointment, or if dads are not allowed to use their paternity leave in practice, then it’s not a supporting culture. Companies need to create a culture of support for working parents throughout the journey from parental leave to working parenthood.
- Give space and generosity
It can be tough for everyone working while parenting, but it’s especially tough for moms. A woman who is a mother is 78 percent less likely to get hired and women in the workplace who have children earn 15 percent less than women who don’t when compared to an equally qualified non-mother. So a company should offer generosity while they are hiring, giving equal importance to both – a working mother and a non-mother.
- Encourage professional development
Women at work have a real fear of being not taken seriously in career development because of starting a family. In Harvard Business Review, Daisy Wademan Dowling, Founder & CEO of Workparent, have some particular solutions to the problem of work-life balance for working parents, like:
- Demonstrate personal support in a visible way
- Define working-parent challenges
- Engage allies to identify and execute on solutions
- Take a comprehensive approach to the problem
- Bringing kids into the workplace
Employers resent the idea of employees bringing their kids to work for a certain number of hours each day as this may seem like crossing a line.
Carla Moquin, Founder and President of the Parenting in the Workplace Institute explains the benefit of allowing children at work for both employees and businesses. Moquin’s organization allowing taking in kids when necessary, where they provide a spare room available where children can pass the time. Most employees feel relieved with this idea as they simply need a place for their kids outside of school hours.
Carla Moquin, Founder and President of the Parenting in the Workplace Institute said,
“The business can support employees at very little cost, and employees can have flexibility and more options to be parents as well as professionals.” Also, she added that children benefit from seeing what their parents do and will become part of the workplace community gradually.
Parent-friendly is good for business
Anne Weisberg, senior vice president for strategy at Families and Work Institute says, “At some point, companies will reach the point where a large number of people in the workforce will become parents sooner or later.” Companies need to support them throughout that transition (and beyond!) to keep valuable talent and helps employees do their best work.
It’s a no-brainer that an engaged, committed workforce is better for business performance, says Anne Weisberg, senior vice president for strategy at Families and Work Institute. Because by keeping people for long period, employers get employee loyalty and help keep valuable employees. So it turns out that finding ways to help out in work-life balance keeps employees happier, more engaged which is always good for business.
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A day in the life of women in tech – here’s to the boss ladies
Burning the candle at both ends, women at work may seem to have achieved an ideal social-work-life balance. But the reality is, it’s a juggling act, a somewhat elusive goal.
International Women’s Day, run yearly on March 8, a day when we celebrate the achievements of women, celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity to put forward the needs of women in particular that aren’t still being put forward.
Since 1909, the first International Women’s Day, countries around the world have practiced March 8th to bring awareness to women’s issues. Let’s celebrate incredible gains made by women in the workplace throughout the years and strive for work-life balance. The work-life balance tips can go on and on. For example, when Google increased paid maternity leave period, they found that the rate at which new mothers quit decreased by about 50 percent. Studies have shown that extending paternity leave makes it more possible that moms are able to return to work full-time. Adding everything up, there can be a real difference in the overall wellbeing.
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