Smart Companies Offer Work/Life Perks

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 Work Pause Thrive

You Are Invited: Executive Mommies Raising Daughters

The Family Institute at Northwestern University is hosting an event on January 28 “Executive Mommies Raising Daughters:  The Challenges and Triumphs of Being a Successful Woman, Mother and Role Model.”  After receiving the 2015 Advertising Mother of the Year Award, Jean Batthany wrote an article in Advertising Age titled “The Tough Reality Facing An Advertising Mother of the Year: An Ad Executive’s Struggle With Motherhood, Mental Illness and Society’s Unrealistic Beauty Standards.”

Join Jean and an extraordinary panel of some of the world’s leading women in advertising and mental health in a candid conversation about being a good role model for their daughters. The event will be held from 3-5 at Starcom MediaVest Group, 35 West Upper Wacker Dr., in Chicago. The event is free to the public but you must RSVP.

RSVP via this link:  http://www.family-institute.org/about-us/circle-of-knowledge

This will be an interesting program that would be of interest to working lawyer moms.

7 Habits of Parents Who Leave the Office at 5 P.M. GUILT-FREE

Ok, so maybe 5 p.m. isn’t realistic, no matter what you do.  But Fast Company has some tips on structuring your day and altering your mentality so that, just maybe, your kids can look forward to you coming home in time for dinner (or dessert) on the regular.

Here is the list of suggested habits…. read the full article here.

  1. BEGIN THE DAY WITH THE END IN MIND
  2. BE CLEAR ON YOUR VALUES
  3. TELL PEOPLE WHEN YOU HAVE TO LEAVE
  4. DO YOUR MOST IMPORTANT WORK FIRST
  5. START MEETINGS BEFORE 4 P.M.
  6. GIVE YOURSELF TRANSITION TIME
  7. REALIZE THAT THE WORK WILL STILL BE THERE TOMORROW

Work/Life Balance Tougher for Women

A new study by the Pew Research Center confirms what we already know–namely that being a parent and advancing one’s career is tougher for women–as recently noted by Katie Gibson in Moneywatch.  Among working moms, 41 percent said being a parent made it harder for them to advance in their career but only 20 percent of working dads reported the same.

Nearly half of two-parent families or 46 percent have both parents working full time, up from 31% in 1970. Only 26 percent of two-parent households had a dad working full-time and a stay-at-home mom, versus 46 percent in 1970.

Read more about this study in Ms. Gibson’s blog Getting Ahead At Work Harder for Moms Than Dads

While it is an interesting report, it confirmed what every working mom already knows. It is hard to do two jobs at once!

With time to spare…

Dani Ryan over at Cloudy, With A Chance Of Wine, compiled her Top 10 Time Management Tips for Busy Moms.  Her #1 tip is to take some time for yourself and get a jump start on your day by getting out of bed 30 minutes early.   Others include making lists, setting a time limit on tasks, and delegating — not just at work, but at home too.

In the legal world, sometimes time management is tough when things seem to “come up” and take over.  What’s your top tip for time management?

A Toxic Work World for Working Parents?

Anne-Marie Slaughter’s latest article “A Toxic Work World” appeared in the New York Times yesterday concluding that the expectations of the business world have become toxic for workers, increasing stress and health concerns and making it virtually impossible for working parents. She notes that for many Americans, life has become all about competition all the time and that the mentality of “winning at all costs” does not allow room for caregiving.

While particularly challenging for women, she confirms that it is not a “women’s issue” but a worker issue and equally troubling for both men and women and more so for working parents. She correctly notes that our families today do not follow the “Mad Men” or “Leave It To Beaver” model with one partner working and the other staying home caring for children and other family members. As a result, today’s workplaces do not fit the realities of life as we know it. She concludes that to be fully competitive as a country, we need to build an infrastructure of care.

To support care just as we support competition, she concludes a combination of the following are needed:

  1. High quality and affordable child care and elder care
  2. Paid family and medical leave for women and men
  3. Right to request part-time or flexible work for women and men
  4. Greater investment in early education
  5. Comprehensive job protection for pregnant workers
  6. Higher wages and training for paid caregivers
  7. Reform of elementary and secondary school schedules to meet the needs of digital vs agricultural economy
  8. Community support structures to allow elders to live at home longer

In making the case for change, she notes “We can, all of us, stand up for care. Until we do, men and women will never be equal; not while both are responsible for providing cash but only women are responsible for providing care…..The women’s movement has brought many of us the right to compete on equal terms; it’s time for all of us to claim an equal right to care.”

She gets it. Read her article and consider what we can do to improve the working environment that will benefit all of us. Such changes would help all working parents.