Do working moms get a break at the office?

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Adecco Mother’s Day Survey Reports Majority of Working Moms (60%) Think They Aren’t Given Special Treatment When It Comes to Work/Life Benefits

MELVILLE, N.Y. (May 7, 2008) – The latest Adecco USA Workplace Insight survey, conducted in recognition of Mother’s Day, found that working moms (71%) are just as likely as non-parents (73%) to work late and respond to e-mails after hours, even though one-third of all workers (32%) would be less inclined to ask a working parent (male or female) to do so.  Further, even though they’re willing to burn the midnight oil with the rest of their colleagues, nearly half of moms (49%) think their companies should do more to help them achieve better work/life balance. 

Other key findings of the survey include:    

  • Do Moms Have It Better When It Comes to Access to Work/Life Balance?: Depends on who you ask!  60% of working moms think they have the same level of access to work/life benefits as non-parents. Less than half of non-parents (44%) agree with the statement and one in four (25%) non-parents think they have less access.
  • Which is Harder to Manage?:  According to working moms, managing career is a piece of cake next to managing family: 71% of working mothers find it more difficult to manage their family vs. career (29%).
  • Career & Motherhood Can Go Hand-in-Hand: A majority of working mothers (59%) say becoming a mother has not impacted their career path, while 15% say its actually had negative impact on their career.

“Mother's Day is the perfect time to celebrate all moms and particularly working moms given the challenges around juggling home life and career priorities," says Bernadette Kenny, chief career officer of Adecco. "As the workplace evolves and becomes more flexible, we are witnessing that moms are becoming more confident with maintaining both their careers and family lives.  However, challenges still remain, as an increasingly ‘24X7-on’ culture is pushing everyone to be online at all times.  Employers should pay attention to this trend and ensure that all employees—not just parents—are able to better balance work and life.”

Managers and business leaders alike can take several steps to help the working moms on their teams achieve better work/life balance:

  • Reward productivity, not face-time: Today’s workplace isn’t confined within the four walls of an office building.  Blackberries, laptops, webmail – all have made it easy for work to take place virtually anywhere and at anytime. Rather than being hesitant to allow moms to take on flexible schedules or to work from home, be open to the idea. Be sure to set defined works goals and results beforehand, and evaluate based on productivity and contributions vs. face-time.
  • Build an inclusive culture: Don’t isolate work-life balance offerings to just moms, as this sort of preferential treatment can pit non-parents against their mom and dad counterparts.  Build a culture where everyone feels their personal commitments, whether it be kids, a significant other or hobby, are honored. 
  • Take your kids to work day: Show your working moms and dads that you support and respect their commitment to their families by actively participating in annual take your kids to work day.  Inviting their children onsite will not only bring your staff closer, but will also serve to showcase the value their being a parent brings to the workforce. 
  • Practice what you preach: Managers and supervisors need to lead by example as behaviors and attitudes will be sure to trickle down.  Respect your own work-life balance and try not to initiate or respond to emails on weekends or call staff after hours unless absolutely necessary.   

For a complete copy of the Adecco Mother’s Day 2008 survey results please contact Anthony Guerrieri at anthony.guerrieri@adeccona.com.

Survey Methodology:

This Parents in the Workplace survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Interactive on behalf of Adecco between April 21 and April 23, 2008 among 2,138 adults ages 18+, of whom, 1,262 are employed full-time and/or part-time (“workers”), 645 are workers who are not parents or legal guardians of any children (“non-parents”), and 352 are female workers who are parents or legal guardians (“working mothers/moms”). This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables, please contact Anthony Guerrieri.

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