I remember in the early 2000’s where companies were focusing on work/life balance. I had joined corporate America but honestly, at this time this didn’t really matter to me. I was single and fresh out of college. Having trouble adjusting to life out of school, my only concerns were making money and spending it and that was my work/life balance.
But now that I’m a mom of two and wife, work/life balance looks very different for me and I think most of corporate America is failing at it. With the number of women in the workforce being comparable to the number of men, you would think that some of the policies would change so that balance could exist but nope, there’s still much work to do. If I were a CEO attempting to show my employees that there happiness and balance is important to me, here are 6 benefits that I would offer:
1. Family Time Off
I feel like this one is a no brainer. Most of us have loved ones whose care we’re somewhat responsible for. Whether it’s an older parent, grandparent, or child, there are times that we have to take off to take care of them. Just this year alone, I had to take time off to care for abc with a stomach bug and double ear infection. Mini didn’t get her annual birthday sickness from Mother Nature so she’s been good. But then I got sick. By the time that I got sick, I’d gone through a good amount of my time off. So that means I had to come to work not feeling well. Now that I’ve gone through all of my time off caring for others and one day to get myself together, I have no more time left for vacation. I’m sure I’m not the only person this has happened to and it’s left me feeling tired and burnt out at work and home. Companies need to allot certain hours to take care of our families. This way we’re more present during the day for our work and we’re able to still take time off to refresh.
2. Childcare Program
When I worked from Wells Fargo Bank, there was a childcare network with Bright Horizons. We would get discounted back up care for $10/day if something happened with our normal day care. This was a great benefit and took a lot of the stress out of finding someplace for mini to go when I had to work if her normal care was closed. I think this needs to be a benefit that all companies offer. My friend’s wife’s company actually has a day care by their building that is affiliated with the company and offers them childcare at a way discounted rate. This is also something to consider. Either one of these options would make new moms and dads more comfortable in returning to work. I mentioned this to my CEO after telling him my last day was coming up because paying for childcare just didn’t make sense financially. Let’s hope he considers this.
3. Better Insurance
I can barely calculate the amount of money that I spent last year on healthcare. Between paying for prenatal care and delivery and the normal stuff with having a child, I was left wondering what I was paying for out of my check. It would be nice to have good insurance that didn’t cost my entire paycheck and then some.
4. Paternity Leave
And I mean paid—like Maternity Leave. I think it’s necessary for father’s to bond with their babies as well. I felt bad when my husband had to go back to work so soon after abc was born. I bond with her during our nursing relationship and snuggles and such. I spent 11 weeks home with her. We bonded. But with the hubs being at work all the time and doing a lot with mini, he didn’t really get a chance to bond with abc early on. Plus, I know I would have loved the help around the house.
5. Merit Increases That Were More Than Just Cost of Living Increases
The last time I checked, the annual rate of inflation was 4%. The last couple of “raises” I’ve received were 3%–not even cost of living. But these were supposedly merit increases for a job well done. L This needs to be better especially since in most cases companies are having 1 person do the job of 2-3 people.
6. Better Flextime/Telecommute Policies
I don’t work in a customer-facing role yet I’m still required to come into work. Both my co-workers and I feel like this is definitely counterproductive. They have to pay more for us being in the office than if we worked from home. And yes, our jobs can be worked from home. Working from home would free up the funds that I’m having to pay for daycare. As would flextime. Again, because I’m not in a customer-facing role and it’s rare that I have things to do that can only be done during 9-5, a lot of my work can be completed in off-peak hours.
I think that these benefits are important. Maybe if these were employed, I would stay in corporate a little longer—but probably not. What additional family-friendly benefits do you think companies need to offer?