Category: Work/Life Balance

Praise due for Netflix’s paid parental leave policy

Photo: Paul Sakuma, Associated Press

Photo: Paul Sakuma, Associated Press

This op-ed was originally published in the San Francisco Chronicle, August 7, 2015.

Netflix’s decision to offer employees unlimited maternity or paternity leave for one year to care for a new baby has earned praise, especially because so few such policies exist in corporate America. As the U.S. is one of only three countries that do not mandate paid family leave, Netflix has really advanced the national conversation on the issue.

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Resentment Keeps Family-Leave Policies Unused

Note: This story was originally published by the Wall Street Journal’s MarketWatch on August 9, 2013.tired-worker-11113002

In the Silicon Valley where I work, and across America, employers have created policies to be more responsive to employee needs for balance between work and personal life. For instance, Facebook, Google, and Yahoo! offer paid leave for new parents, and often throw in a nice “baby cash bonus.”

But my research shows that many employees might not take advantage of such perks.

Unfortunately, peer resentment often intrudes on an employee’s willingness to make use of work/family policies.

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Workplace flexibility and scheduling…will it work?

Not too long ago, I found this article written by Joan Williams for the Huffington Post. I typically enjoy reading Williams’ columns, as she does a nice job of integrating legal issues (she is a distinguished professor law at the University of California) into discussions on gender, work/life conflict, and organizational support. In this article, Williams argues that there are four steps to workplace flexibility and smart scheduling. They are:

1. Create a dependeable schedule.
2. Set up a formal system for handling schedule changes.
3. Address the issue of overtime
4. Offer hourly workers short periods of time off work.

These suggestions come from a discussion Williams had with the president of a labor union who represents grocery and drug store employees in California. The main point here is that employees need scheduling stability in order to seek work/life balance.

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Working Women Still Working toward Independence

RosieOn our nation’s birth date, I thought it would be appropriate to post a brief story about my thoughts on our nation’s history, especially our working history. This idea was predicated on an article that I read this morning in the Arizona Republic on how our economy “stacks up” to other countries. While I am sure that the author of the story cites appropriate and accurate statistics, I do want to take him to task on one important issue. He says the following:

“Average U.S. household income of $37,690 (in 2008) was well above the OECD average of $22,284. Two-thirds of teens and adults here have a job, including 73 percent of mothers – a sign of positive work/life balance for women.”

While I am happy to see that earnings are higher-than-projected in 2008, I am quite concerned that the author of this article equates work with positive work/life balance. I am not entirely certain what the author of this article is speaking to, but I can assume that there is a specific reason why he uses this language.

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Support at Home while Working from Home?

Mother working from home Today, I read an online article about some of the “unique problems” that stay-at-home workers face over their face-to-face working counterparts. I know that these unique problems have been reported in countless research articles, but I think its worth a quick re-post of some of the primary problems (especially those reported in the news story):

1. People working at home must be self-motivated enough to accomplish all of their tasks in a timely fashion.
2. At-home workers are entirely responsible for their own image and cannot rely on their coworkers to help bolster their image at work.
3. At-home workers have fewer opportunities for social connectivity, especially as being engaged in their organizational culture.
4. Lack of face-to-face communication with supervisors, customers, vendors, employees, and co-workers can lead to a whole host of problems, since there are fewer nonverbal channels in which to communicate. I just LOVE it when people try to communicate sarcasm through text (pun intended)
5. Conflict and crises can become incredibly difficult to manage when working from home.

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