Recently Chicco, as part of its NaturalFit #Neverstopgrowing campaign, released a video of a working mom receiving a performance review that has since gone viral. It’s hit a nerve because it resonates with the stress and pressure so many working mothers feel as they strive to give everything both at work and at home.
“The insight for the overall campaign was born when we uncovered research that revealed the ‘emotional tug of war’ mothers (and fathers) face,” said Brenda Liistro, General Manager of Feeding & Care for Chicco USA, a multi-category baby brand company. “Ultimately, moms are performing many roles, but they don’t believe they are performing any role as well as they would like.”
The problem highlighted in the video is that women can feel like they don’t have enough time or energy to excel in both areas. Further, some women actually leave the workforce because they can’t find work that allows them to keep the necessary focus on their family.
Working mothers are commanding more flexible working arrangements in order to balance home and their career (Credit: Pexels.com).
Outdated Societal Norms Are Still Driving Workplace Behavior
According to 2016 numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 60.6% of families with children have both parents working outside the home. The reality is that, in many families, the option for one parent to stay home with children is non-existent, or incredibly difficult.
One company, Werk, has made it their mission to help top talent, including working mothers, looking for flexible work find high quality opportunities with companies hiring for those roles.
“Our workplace norms have not been updated since the industrial era, when workers worked 9-to-5 in a single space, at a single company, over the course of their lives,” said Annie Dean, Cofounder and Co-CEO of Werk, the destination for flexible work opportunities for ambitious job seekers. “Except in rare cases, one parent remained at home. None of these things are true anymore, and we badly need to update our corporate policies so that they are better aligned with modern realities.”
Further, there’s a deeper troubling trend under the covers of working and non-working mothers. High achieving working mothers are dropping out of the workforce when they’re unable to excel in both work and family life.
“I watched brilliant friends drop out of the workforce because, totally overwhelmed at their jobs and unable to find a flexible alternative that was worthy of their skillset, they felt like they had no other choice,” shared Anna Auerbach, Cofounder and Co-CEO of Werk, the destination for flexible work opportunities for ambitious job seekers.
In fact, Dean and Auerbach created Werk in response to the glaring reality that there is an imbalance in workplaces as it relates to those in need of flexible work, especially working mothers.
Millennial mothers, in particular, face a different environment than their mothers and grandmothers did. They are perhaps the first generation of mothers who are more likely to go to work than stay home with their children. Their mothers would have been part of a societal norm if they stayed home, rather than a diminishing portion of the population. Dean simplifies the crux of the problem for millennial women in just one statement, “Women are expected to work like they don’t have children, and raise children like they don’t have a job.”
Employers Offering Flexible Work Is On The Rise
The good news is that not all companies are stuck in the stone ages of workplace norms. More companies are realizing that offering flexibility allows them to attract and retain the best talent.
“We work with a lot of high-potential startups that want the best minds and a reasonable cost,” shared Dean. “It’s an ideal scenario for talented women who want to work part-time. We definitely see trends emerging, like Amazon’s 30-hour work week teams, who are beginning to recognize that it’s a business imperative to create environments that retain and advance the best talent. Flexibility is probably the lowest cost, highest impact strategy that companies can implement to increase employee optimization, as long as they’re committed to implementing those policies without bias against those who use them.”
All things aside, women continue to make advancements in the workplace and break through glass ceilings. The area of working while parenting is no different. Talented women who use organizations like Werk to find appropriately flexible work will continue to raise the bar on what working mothers can expect from their employers.
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