In my recent travels, I read an article in United’s Hemisphere magazine by Lisen Stromberg Beating the Parent Trap that discussed the value to companies that offer work/life balance perks. News studies confirm that companies with a more gender-diverse talent pool had 15 percent higher returns, regardless of the industry. While work/life balance considerations are critical to working parents, a more flexible workplace benefits everyone. Consider a 2015 EY Global Generations survey of full-time workers that confirmed two-thirds of Millennial men would change jobs, give up a promotion, or relocate in order to secure better work/life balance.
Family matters and Millennial workers want more flexibility and options to work and live the life they want. This is confirmed by a survey of Millennial workers showing that: 1) 90% believe parental leave is extremely important; 2) 79% say they’d be happier if their company offered more flexible working arrangements; and 3) 61% of women report they expect to pause their career to care for children.
This article is a fresh look at what we already know–flexible workplaces and support for working parents is critically important. Ms. Stromberg concludes in her article that “….with the demand for talent greater than ever, wise companies are recognizing that offerings like pumping rooms are not “perks” but rather prerequisites for attracting and retaining the best employees.”
To learn more, read the article linked herein or Ms. Stromberg’s book
All working parents struggle with work/life balance issues and there is no perfect solution. It is a continuing process of give and take and figuring out what works for you and your family at any given time in your lives. I always find it helpful to hear what others have to say about it. Kara Heissman writing for Lifehack notes what all of us know–the conflict between work and family is a common source of stress. She offers the following insights that helped her:
- I made the decision to find balance.
- I involved people I trust in the process.
- I established limits and boundaries between family and work.
- I accepted that imbalance is sometimes unavoidable.
In her blog she admits there is not one size fits all solution. I think we can all agree with her.
A child’s soccer game at the same time as a client dinner. An anniversary dinner postponed because of a last-minute meeting. Racing from a band concert to join a conference call. Trying to balance work, family and love can be messy. It’s moments like these that beg the question, can we truly have it all?
The conversation about work/life balance happens within ourselves, with our partners and with our workplaces … usually all at the same time. Trying to fit these pieces together can make us question how we assign our identity and even our worth. But all three — work, family and love — can exist together. How we embrace this dynamic conversation is the critical focus of this talk.
In Work. Family. Love. Conversations that Last a Lifetime, licensed clinical psychologist, Northwestern University professor and working mother Dr. Alexandra H. Solomon will offer tips and tools for defining boundaries and creating flexibility in personal and familial growth, ensuring professional and personal happiness.personal happiness.
Tuesday, June 28
4:30 p.m. Registration
5:00-7:00 p.m. presentation and light fare
Jenner & Block, 353 N. Clark St., 45th Floor, Chicago
Free event but RSVPs are required.
RSVP by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 312-609-5300, ext. 483
This is a wonderful, free program that addresses issues of interest to all of us. Please consider joining us for this special, no cost program. All are welcome.
The Chicago Park District’s 16th annual Movies in the Parks series kicks off June 4th, and features more than 250 outdoor screenings of current and classic movies in parks across the city. Bring a picnic basket, blanket, and your friends and family and enjoy a movie in the parks. All movies begin at dusk, weather permitting. Call (312) 742-1134 for daily listings and weather-related cancellations.
The Chicago Park District offer summer activities around the city and there is something for everyone to enjoy.
One of the most difficult issues for working parents is having to be away from their kids–whether it is to go to work, travel for business, share parenting responsibilities with a partner, or simply drop your kids off at day care or school. In her recent blog, Andrea Nair suggests you try making a “connection bridge” between you and your kids for when you are apart. Her suggestions are threefold:
- Prepare them in advance by filling their “tanks” with love and attention before you leave.
- Young children can tolerate being away from their caregivers when they know exactly when they will see them again–use a time marker they will understand like “I look forward to seeing you right after circle time.”
- In addition to knowing when you will return, find a small object that a child could keep in a lunch box or pocket to hold when they are missing you such as small rocks, old pieces of costume jewelry or even sticky notes.
Her blog provides some helpful insights and thoughts on how to make any separation more tolerable for you and your kids.
Sanctuary Spa in Covent Garden is on a mission to get women to relax, breathe and #LetGo. The UK based organization believes: about 40% of women feel like they are about to burnout trying to be the “perfect” everything; and, 80% of women say they put too much pressure on themselves to be perfect (even though we accomplish an average of 26 tasks a day!). They have created a moving YouTube video of senior women discussing their lives and what they most wish they could do again. It is a really important reminder of what matters most in our busy lives as we continue efforts to balance real life and work responsibilities.
I encourage you to take a few minutes to watch this short YouTube video.
According to Jessica Shortall in one of her very popular Ted Talks, the U.S. needs paid family leave now for the sake of all of our futures. We need women to work, and we need working women to have babies. So why is America one of the only countries in the world that offers no national paid leave to new working mothers? In this incisive talk, Jessica Shortall makes the impassioned case that the reality of new working motherhood in America is both hidden and horrible: millions of women, every year, are forced back to work within just weeks of giving birth. Her idea worth spreading: the time has come for us to recognize the economic, physical and psychological costs of our approach to working mothers and their babies, and to secure our economic future by providing paid leave to all working parents.
We agree. When you have time, please listen to her Ted Talk about why paid family leave is so important to all of us.