Women Executives — Creating Work Life Balance
Women face a complexity and variety of challenges in their careers. Every woman who strives to achieve an executive level position will face a labyrinth of stereotypes and family responsibility. In a very real sense, women with a high-level career and children have two jobs, which leave very little time for anything else. Further, women who choose to take time off to raise a child or care for aging parents are often seen as less committed to their field or career than those that remain in the workforce. It would seem then, that women are still expected to choose between the social obligations of family and the professional obligations of career.
Fortunately, organizations are beginning to address one of the many challenges faced by women in the workplace by promoting a healthy work-life balance. Such programs help retain talented women by supporting growth and development of the person as a whole – as both a professional and mother. The working population is shrinking, and the mandate to retain and keep good employees engaged has never been more important. Men too, with their changing roles and responsibilities as caregivers, benefit from these work-life balance programs, which include flex time, child care services and telecommuting.
Businesses directly benefit from these programs by reducing turnover, increasing employee satisfaction and improving overall productivity. European and Canadian firms already have such programs in place. A number of studies, including one completed by the UK Centre for Social Research concluded that “The results also support the business case for the provision of work-life balance practices. Despite some concerns about staff shortages, the majority of employers that provided flexible working practices and leave arrangements found them to be cost effective, with a positive impact on labour turnover, motivation and commitment and employee relations.”
In time, no doubt, more organizations will adopt programs that provide the support necessary for employees with family responsibilities. If your organization does not offer these benefits, consider developing a business case and presenting this to management. The Canadian Government’s Department of Human Resources and Social Development website offers a wealth of information, including a business case which outlines the costs and benefits of such a program.
We are curious to know what programs are offered by your company and how this has impacted your career. How do you manage your work-life balance? Give us a shout!