“Not Just for Mommies” looks at solutions to the concept of managing work and family and, contrary to popular belief, it is not only women who reap the benefits. The article emphasizes how advantageous it is for companies to have flexible work schedules because it “boosts productivity” and leads to better employee retention.
Another party who profits equally from the work/life programs are the dads. According to the article, 90% of Abbott’s 340 employees have incorporated the flexible working options into their lives. This overwhelming participation in the alternative working schedules illustrates the need for such polices.
However, citing a study by Corporate Voices, the article also notes that it is much more common for higher wage jobs to have flexible schedules.
According to a 2006 study by the policy group Corporate Voices For Working Families, 40 percent of workers making $100,000 a year or more have flexible schedules, compared to 22 percent of those making $25,000 to $50,000 and 10 percent of those who make less than that.
It makes sense that companies who spend a good deal of time and money training their workers would be vested in having their workers stay at the company, essentially getting the return on their investment. However, as our study shows, that still leaves low wage workers with less time to spend with their children. I don’t think many people would disagree that, whether you make $100,000 or $20,000, if you have children they are your number one priority. Therefore, why should higher paid workers be able to spend time with their children, when lower wage workers cannot?
This article, while beautifully highlighting the positive steps that some companies, like Abbott, are taking, made me wonder a few things.
For instance, how should a lower wage worker, or even a higher wage worker that does not have the option of a flexible work schedule, interpret these findings? If having flexible work/life policies indicates that the companies value their workers, are workers who do not have flexible policies not valued?
And, as the article points out, when workers feel valued they perform better. So, if workers will perform at a higher level, and there is a high demand for family-friendly policies, why is every company not on board with this concept, following in Abbott’s footsteps?
By Allison Keyser