Remember the movie 9 to 5, where Lily Tomlin’s character describes her ideal workplace as one that provides flexible hours, equal pay, a job-sharing program and a day care center? Today many employers offer some of these options that enable parents to balance life and career in previously unimaginable ways.
These employers realize that offering options provides them with more productive, creative and content employees. “People will give more when they feel something is of greater value, and they appreciate what is offered to them,” says Dixie Rivera, a business owner in Turnersville, NJ, and a facilitator for the Powerful You! Women’s Networking Group.
Flex time. This method to achieving balance allows employees to arrange their work hours to accommodate their personal schedules. With flexible work hours, parents can “get children to school and handle doctors’ appointments and unexpected life events,” notes Holly Scaro, member of the MOMS Club of Coastal Delaware. She adds that flex time “allows for less time off of work, less stress trying to juggle work and family and more productivity” by employees.
Job sharing. A job-sharing program allows two employees to split the work of an individual position. Scaro says, “Our chiropractic office is set up so we each work three or four days per week, and during that time the revenue we collect is our own.” This arrangement, she says, “allows us to spend time with our families. We also can concentrate and be more productive on the days that we work.”
Telecommuting. Working at home can make life more manageable but requires discipline. Rivera notes, “It’s a great option for someone who doesn’t mind working alone.” Erin Flynn Jay, Philadelphia-based publicity expert and author of Mastering the Mommy Track, points out that employees “save on commuting time and spend less on their career wardrobes if they don’t have to go into an office every day.”
Maybe Lily Tomlin’s character’s dreams haven’t entirely come true: Equal pay and onsite daycares still aren’t the norm, but employers have made strides.
An increasing number of companies recognize how workplace flexibility builds employee morale, which generally increases employees’ productivity. Regarding flexible options in the workplace, Jay points out that “there’s no sign of stopping in 2016,” and the sky’s the limit.
M.B. Sanok is a freelance writer and stay-at-home mom in South Jersey. She also writes a personal blog, Maple Brown Sugar.