Since 2009, the Center of American Progress has been reporting that breadwinning mothers continue to rise. Work flexibility has been on the rise as well, but now is the time that work flexibility should become the norm. Luckily a few companies have realized this trend and how offering work/life benefits they employee and the company. Here’s six reasons why working parents need flexibility now more than ever and a few companies that are getting with the times.
Our Kids Need Us Around More
Keeping kids healthy and active demands your time. Like you keep the house clean to stop the spreading of germs. You want your kids involved in thing but most sports and after-school programs begin or end while you are still at work. Imagine if flexible work schedules were the standard You could catch a soccer practice and the housework wouldn't stress you out so much!
If you are a parent of a child with special needs working a flexible schedule is a saving grace. According to the non-profit organization, Autism Speaks, 1 in 45 children, ages 3 through 17, have been diagnosed with the autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Also, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that 11% of American children ages 4 to 17 have ADHD. These challenges are the on the rise and a flexible works schedule can help you manage doctor appointments, school meetings, and tending to the needs of your child.
If you have young children daycare can be a nightmare. If we had flexible schedules our kids wouldn't have to spend so much time out of the house (although daycare is great for their social skills). Daycare drop off and pickups would be awesome because neither would be as rushed. You'd never have to stress about late fees again (hopefully).
Only 3% of companies in the U.S. offer onsite daycare, like Goldman Sachs, which would bring us closer to our kids. While others are offsetting this type of offer with longer paid maternity leave and paid parental leave, like Netflix with 52 paid weeks for both new moms and dads. And although other benefits like tax-free dependent care and flexible-spending accounts don't bring us closer to our kids at least they help pay for child care.
Long Hours Can Hurt Marriages or Relationships
When we work long hours or work opposite shifts we miss our spouses. If it wasn’t for them there wouldn’t be a family to provide for! Plus divorce rates continue to rise where currently, 50% of marriages end in divorce. Have you ever sneaked away to work "just a few hours"? This cheats you out of time with your spouse.
A flexible work schedule could help you keep your wedding vows. You may feel less stressed and be around more. Your spouse wouldn’t be the one carrying all the weight at home and you’d feel more like the team you promised to be. Heck, maybe the two of you could have more kids!
You'd have more energy to stay up after the kids go to bed and connect with your spouse. The pull to sneak away and check work email wouldn't feel so tempting anymore.
Work flexibility would help you show the love to your spouse who depends on that.
The Work/Life Balance Goal Seems Impossible and Old
Work flexibility could retire the 40-year old goal of balancing work and life. How often do you feel off-balanced? Wouldn't it be great to not worry about your balancing act?
Instead, you'd be able to sway better between what happens at work and the demands at home. Disruptions wouldn't cause havoc but instead part of the work/life sway you are able to manage well with a flexible work schedule.
There are many companies implementing new strategies to improve their employees work/life balance to help employee retention and trust. Forbes voted Colgate-Palmolive and Wegman's as the top two companies that support work/life balance initiatives who both offer flexible work options and telecommuting.
The 8-Hour Work Day Is Inefficient
Sure you may leave at 5:00 PM, but is that when work really stops? Thanks to technology, no, it doesn't. We can easily squeeze in work after hours due to easy access to work emails and projects. Some of us even dream about work if we're stressed enough.
How many studies have to be done to prove working long shifts is not good for the bottom line? It's been found that if you take many short breaks throughout the day you'll be more productive, according to a study conducted by the Draugiem Group. With a flexible work schedule, you could implement this idea and boost your company's profits.
Companies like Amazon are introducing a 30-hour work week because they understand that a full work week "may not be a 'one size fits all' model". Deloitte and KPMG introduced a 4-day work week because they too knew that if they want to improve their company's performance they needed to help improve their employee's lives.
It's great large companies are changing their ways but there's still a lot of work to be done. To play your part, if you work a flexible schedule share your success stories with your manager, peers, and business friends. And if you are not working a flexible work schedule start researching how to make this happen. If your company doesn't support flex work there are many out there that do.