Family-friendly employers do exist, however, with competition for talent at an all- time high, some companies are offering; nap rooms, in-house entertainment and laundry service, minimizing the need to ever leave the office. While those are all nice perks, many working parents, don’t necessarily want to be working 60 hours a week while trying to manage a family. And, so in the talent-perk field of today’s landscape, how hard is it to find a company that embodies the family friendly workplace?
Alice Gomstyn article How to tell whether a prospective employer is actually ‘family-friendly’ illuminates the age-old argument about what constitutes a family-friendly workplace. It reads, in part;
“Fewer hours. Less travel. More flexibility. Minimal stress.
The promise of having it all led Al, a father in suburban New Jersey, to leave a high-pressure career at a New York City talent management agency to work as a marketing director at a theater just a few miles from his home. Al (who asked that his last name not be used so he could speak candidly about his employers) wanted to devote more time to his son, who has special needs, and be available to visit the boy’s elementary school when necessary.But things didn’t work out as expected. Al’s hours grew longer and his boss began calling him on weekends. Occasional requests to leave work to deal with issues at his son’s school were met with disdain.
“What was presented to me at the interview,” Al says, “was very different from what the reality was at the workplace.”
Sometimes the quest for work-life balance can lead parents to change jobs. Those who believe they’re moving to a more family-friendly company or industry may face a rude awakening, though, when hiring managers don’t keep their promises, or when personnel changes transform a once laid-back department into a high-pressure environment.
The family-friendliness of a workplace often depends on who’s running it at the moment, says Samantha Ettus, a work-life balance expert and author. People commonly “leave companies for the grass-is-greener mentality of ‘maybe that other company is going to afford me a better lifestyle,’” she says. “But if they’re working for a boss who doesn’t have any boundaries with their own personal life … [that boss] is certainly not going to care about protecting yours.”
Rachel, a Memphis-based accountant who asked to be identified by her first name only to speak candidly, felt like no one was protecting her when she faced a dramatic increase in her workload. She had traded 60-hour-plus weeks at a public accounting firm for what was supposed to be a better quality of life at an in-house corporate tax department. For a few years, Rachel was satisfied with her move. That changed quickly, however, after several members of the department left. When their positions went unfilled, much more work was heaped onto Rachel’s plate.
She still managed to get out of the office in time to pick up her young son from day care, but it meant spending hours catching up on work each night. The stress took its toll and affected her home life. “I was leaving every day from work in tears,” she says. “I was on edge most of the time. My poor husband probably got my sharp tongue way more than he deserved.” Exhausted and distraught, Rachel reached out to supervisors asking if she could get more support, but she says her pleas were ignored.
Companies today are often quick to tout family-friendly benefits such as parental leave and remote-work options, but the hard truth is that employers are generally under no obligation to deliver on those promises and accommodate parents struggling to balance their duties at work with their responsibilities at home”.
Bottom-line: Employers shape their workplace policies and culture and so, working- parents should be prudent in asking as much information as possible about a prospective company’s expectations before signing on the dotted line of a work contract.
Keep current with ATS: