A recent article from a female CEO apologizing for the way she behaved toward her female coworkers with children has brought the spotlight back on to how workplaces deal with family-office balances.
In her piece for Fortune, PowerToFly President Katharine Zaleski wrote:
For mothers in the workplace, it's death by a thousand cuts - and sometimes it's other women holding the knives. I didn't realize this - or how horrible I'd been - until five years later, when I gave birth to a daughter of my own
Zaleski joined MPR News' Kerri Miller along with Anne Weisberg, senior vice president of the Families and Work Institute, to discuss what still needs to change and what industries are leading the way.
7 tips to develop a family-friendly workplace
1. Stop judging employee productivity on time spent sitting at a desk in the office. These workplaces often view life as a distraction instead of a benefit to happier, healthier employees.
2. Think about the long game. Giving your employees the opportunity to blend their work and family life will ultimately help a company cultivate good, loyal employees.
3. The smartest businesses put their money where their mouth is. If your business says people are your biggest asset, treat them like it.
4. Flexibility is not just about mothers with young children. These policies benefit everyone as caregivers. Caring for elderly parents, sick spouses or your own illnesses are reasons others in the company could need change in their work schedule.
5. If managed well, employees can be more productive working from home. Anne Weisberg said these employees often convert commute time into hours worked and can put in more hours before they feel burnt out. Businesses need to see telecommuting as a business strategy and build management and expectations around it. Zaleski said she is more productive now working from home than ever before.
6. Be transparent about your team's tradeoffs. "We are all making choices all the time," Weisberg said. "I think the more we understand the trade-offs and choices that we are all making, the more we can accept it." For example: A person who works a three-quarters time schedule so they can spend time with their family is getting paid accordingly and should be judged on the work they get done in the hours they are paid for.
7. We're all in this together. Weisberg said managers can create an empathetic and understanding culture that is flexible around life situations. While one employee might take time off to care for children, another might need to care for a sick spouse or parent. It's important for businesses to see care giving as a societal benefit, she said.