The challenge continues for working mothers trying to balance time spent at the office and at home. One-in-three working mothers say they are dissatisfied with their balance of work and life, according to a survey by CareerBuilder.com. In fact, 38 percent of working mothers indicate they would take a pay cut for a better balance of work and life.
Balancing a 40-hour workweek with a full-time career as Mom can be tough. To better manage work and life, most working mothers make a variety of work-style adjustments. Twenty-two percent take personal days to take care of family needs. Fifteen percent take advantage of flexible schedules. More traditional methods are still used, too - using time simply when needed for staying home for a sick child, taking a child to an appointment, or attending a child's event.
"For working mothers such as myself, balancing work and life is a constant challenge," Mary Delaney, chief sales officer at CareerBuilder.com and mother of three children, says. "The key to balancing time effectively is setting boundaries and priorities ahead of time both at home and at work. Planning for priorities a month or week in advance can help to replace a stressful juggling act with a manageable schedule."
Companies are recognizing the need to help employees find relief for time-management pressures at work and home by offering options such as telecommuting and job sharing. These innovations are gaining popularity with working mothers and employers. Sixty-six percent of working mothers feel that their employers are tolerant of a shortened workday due to a child's needs.
"More and more organizations are evaluating and implementing programs to accommodate their workers' need to achieve a healthy work and life balance," Delaney adds. "A better balance can serve to alleviate stress, improve job satisfaction, and enhance overall performance."
The survey also indicated that employers are open to improving employees' work and life balance. Thirty-five percent say they would offer flexible schedules and flextime. Eighteen percent indicate they would allow an employee to telecommute from one day to all the time. Employers are also willing to provide onsite childcare (9 percent) and let an employee switch from part-time to full-time and back (9 percent).
So what are some work options you might want to take advantage of to give more time to family?
Telecommuting. This is a great option for employees who do not interact with customers face-to-face. For example, one employee of an insurance company in the Northeast recently began working from home when her employer merged two offices into one and was strapped for space. Not one employee turned down the offer to trade in their cubicle and their commuting time for a home office and an extra half-hour of sleep. Plus, this saved on expenses such as childcare and commuting costs. $msn_ad$
Flexible and part-time schedules. News reports show more than 50 percent of companies now offer varying start and end times for salaried positions. Today's workers have found that flexibility is key to their happiness. At one major travel company, two managers were able to negotiate less than full-time work arrangements with their employer in order to accommodate the need for a better balance between work and family. One had a long commute and opted for a four-day work schedule. The other worked an abbreviated schedule five days a week. It just so happened that when the managers reduced their hours, the company was tightening budgets, which saved on salary costs. But more important, the department head gained the employees' loyalty and continued to have seasoned, productive employees on her staff.
Compressed workweek. This option allows employees to work longer hours throughout the week in exchange for a full or partial day off. For example, many companies offer employees the opportunity to work four 10-hour days with one day off during the week. This is a great option for workers with long commutes because it cuts an entire day's drive out of the week. It also is a great option for employers to attract candidates from a broader geographical area. This option is desirable for men and women alike who want more time for extended weekend activities and family time.
Job sharing. If you're looking to work part-time in a full-time world, this is the option for you. Two employees work as a team to fulfill the duties of one full-time position. Although this arrangement requires planning and cooperation, it can be a partnership well worth it. Employers like this option because in most cases neither employee is benefits eligible. That means a substantial cost savings for the company. In addition, job sharing employees most often cover for each other on sick days and during extended absences. This means the employer will save the hassle of hiring temps or making alternative arrangements in the event of an absence.
Kate Lorenz is the article and advice editor for CareerBuilder.com. She researches and writes about job search strategy, career management, hiring trends and workplace issues.