American employees admire working moms, but some resent flexibility

Adecco survey finds 59 percent of men resent mom’s flextime

Melville, NY (May 4, 2007) - Mother's Day is May 13, and according to Adecco USA's latest Workplace Insights survey, 59 percent of working men age 35-44 say flexibility for working mothers causes some resentment amongst coworkers. Though overall most adult workers (67 percent) don't think working moms receive more flexibility than other employees, this negative attitude and perception towards working moms is something corporate America should take note of.

Additional key findings from the survey:
  • Positive Perceptions on Productivity: More than 8 out of 10 (82 percent) U.S. workers report that working moms are just as productive as employees who aren't parents. And 44 percent of moms who work say flextime helps them be more productive.
  • Flextime Tension: 36 percent of respondents say moms' flexibility negatively affects team dynamics; and 31 percent say employee morale is also adversely affected.
  • Admire Abilities: 88 percent of U.S. workers say they admire working moms' ability to "do it all" when it comes to work and family.
"Mother's Day is an excellent time to celebrate all of the great things mothers do, as well as recognize their workplace achievements and ability to successfully juggle home life and career," says Bernadette Kenny, chief career officer of Adecco. "American workers realize the abilities working moms possess, but our survey findings show that employers have some work to do to manage the perceptions and attitudes many employees have toward the special arrangements provided to working moms."

Managers and business leaders alike can take several steps to help keep any negativity at bay:
  • Balance isn't Only for Mom: Give male workers opportunities provided to their female counterparts. Men today often share, or manage entirely, home duties. Creating arrangements to allow them to balance work and career can have a tremendous impact on retention and productivity. Even if only a few male workers utilize such programs, promoting these types of opportunities can serve as internal morale boosters.
  • Document Flexible Arrangements: Have a written flex policy and post team schedules on your intranet or make sure that they are front and center for staff to view. Communicating flextime arrangements helps guarantee employees can prepare deadlines and priorities accordingly. Keeping teammates in the know helps the planning and scheduling of projects - and can help team dynamics.
  • Productivity Counts: Manage those with flex-schedules so priorities aren't left unattended, thus forcing others to pick up the slack. Hold weekly check-ins and send around status updates on key projects so that one person's flexible schedule doesn't affect overall productivity and deliverables. 

"Any flexible work arrangement must meet specific business needs first, as some jobs are simply not open to much flexibility due to their inherent nature," states Kenny. "But by taking a holistic look at how your organization structures programs and communicates them to employees is a great first step to creating a happy and productive workforce."


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