Written by Allison O’Kelly Tuesday, October 09 2012
This summer has been a prolific one for the growing dialogue around work-life balance and flexibility, and how the two intersect. Successful, high-profile working women who happen to be moms, such as Yahoo’s Marissa Mayer and Facebook's Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg, highlighted the debates. There were women in all industries and at all levels feeling inspired to make it to the top, but also feeling conflicted with the realities of their personal circumstances juggling motherhood, caring for aging parents, managing a more complicated life in general.
Where and how does it all come together? Working women are realizing that reaching a sense of satisfaction by marrying all aspects of our lives through flexible work styles is not entirely elusive. In an effort to further the acceptance and application of flexible work options, my company Mom Corps recently commissioned and released the results of our second annual Labor Day Workplace Survey. The results revealed the fact that women (all professionals, really) are willing to give up salary for flexibility at work:
|Nearly one in two working women surveyed (45 percent) are willing to give up some percentage of their salary for more flexibility at work; 7.6 percent is the average proportion of their salary working women are willing to relinquish.|
The tangible proof offers some other interesting key findings:
- 60 percent of working women strongly or somewhat agree that flexibility is one of the most important factors they consider when looking for a new job or deciding what company to work for, and more than one in five strongly agree (23 percent).
- 57 percent of working women think they would get more work done if they had the ability to work from home occasionally.
- More than half (55 percent) of working women agree that the state of the economy has no impact on their desire for increased flexibility at work.
So, what does all of this mean for women and the state of the workforce? The fact that we even need to give up salary for flexibility shows we are still behind the times in terms of aligning a modern work life, but broad changes are continuing to take place. Increasingly, we see organizations implementing flexible options and attracting a whole new level of professional from a completely new talent pool through this progressive hiring method. We also see more women confidently asking for flexibility in their current positions, which helps bring the conversation forward.
Workplace flexibility is not a newfangled, hippie throwback that is a nice-to-have. It is a human capital business strategy. People are working this way very successfully every day. It doesn’t mean working less; it is about working smarter. As women, we shouldn’t be afraid to approach employers about implementing a flexible work style into the day to day. The results of increased flexibility will return ten-fold with increased engagement, productivity and overall professional and personal fulfillment.
Know that flexible work options are out there and more readily available than you may think. Be courageous and ask for what you want or need so that your work and your life are in sync.
More on flexibility at work:
Kathleen Christensen of the Sloan Foundation is one of the original advocates for workplace flexibility. Read about the evolution of this movement from the perspective of a pioneer.
These three, one hundred percent female-powered firms give a glimpse into what corporate culture might be like if it wasn't designed by men. Hint: Flexiblity reigns supreme.
Learn more about different types of flex time and how to create policies that benefit both employees and business owners.
Allison O’Kelly is the founder and CEO of Mom Corps, a national flexible staffing firm dedicated to connecting progressive employers with professionals seeking flexible work option. O’Kelly is a CPA, holds Harvard MBA and is a working mother.