By Lisa Horn (@SHRMLobbystLisa), Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), Director of Congressional Affairs and SHRM’s Workplace Flexibility Initiative
With summer behind us masses of working parents, including me, are transitioning from the chess game of piecing together summer camp opportunities amidst the family vacations to the back-to-school routine of drop offs, activities, and everything in between. It’s a jungle – I mean a juggle for us all!
While a new school year can be a relief for many of us parents, it is also the start of the day-to-day demands of weaving together work, personal, and family responsibilities. Of course work-life fit is important to all employees, but working parents in particular often have unique challenges with managing it all. Between doctor’s appointments, extracurricular activities and practices, homework, and parent-teacher conferences, many working parents struggle to effectively manage the ever increasing work-life load.
In the struggle to manage it all, many working parents may see their careers suffer. According to the Pew Research Center, working parents with children under 18 say it is harder to advance in their career and some parents, especially women, choose to opt-out of working all together.
I am one of the lucky ones because at SHRM, I have access to a number of flexible work arrangements that make navigating the demands of work, family and life, well – easier. I have access to compressed workweeks, schedule flexibility, paid time off, and telecommuting opportunities to enable me to be a great Mom and a great SHRM employee. SHRM has embraced workplace flexibility as a business strategy, which has helped the organization reduce turnover, improve employee engagement, and allow for business continuity in the face of inclement weather.
I’m proud to say that SHRM not only supports an effective and flexible workplace for its workforce, but is actively working to transform workplaces across the country to help them better meet employees’ work-life demands by leveraging workplace flexibility strategies.
Through When Work Works, a nationwide initiative to bring research on workplace effectiveness and flexibility into community and business practice, SHRM and the Families and Work Institute (FWI) seek to unveil workflex best practices through its annual When Work Works Award (formerly the Sloan Awards for Workplace Effectiveness and Flexibility).
SHRM and FWI recently revealed 284 worksites that have won the prestigious 2014 When Work Works Award, including the Top 10 Employers You May Not Know, But Should. These organizations are model employers that have created effective workplaces that support employees’ need for flexibility while achieving extraordinary business results. And more good news – many of the innovative flexibility strategies offered at these exemplary worksites make the back to school transition, well, more manageable.
Interested in award winning worksites in your area? Check out the state-by-state breakdown here.