Employers, the parents in your companies have spoken.
Stressful and overscheduled lives have pushed employees to point where a structured work environment just won’t cut it anymore.
A recent survey completed by almost 1,200 parents with kids in school reports work flexibility is now the highest priority for working moms and dads, even topping factors like salary and health insurance.
So what does that mean? If I need to feed and ride my horse in the morning, you’ll allow me to come in at 10 a.m. and work later than everyone else. When my child has a school play, I can easily step out for a few hours and come back when it’s over. If I’m sick and I need to telecommute, you’re cool with it.
Essentially, it means employers being flexible. And in our time, the concept is greatly needed. The current structured workplace is like driving a horse and carriage on a freeway. People are looking for careers that allow more room to move adjust their schedules without shame from bosses. Luckily for us, you don’t always have to take a paycut to do it.
Flextime—Not Just for One Gender
With nearly 40 percent of parents leaving jobs due to a lack of flexibility, there’s obviously a growing necessity for careers that fit people—not the other way around. However, the need isn’t just for women.
Even in 2016, men are still typically viewed by some as the should-be breadwinners, the anti-nurturers, the never-put-work-second guys. The ability to adjust one’s schedule around kids is automatically assumed as something only women require. In reality, both men and women need work flexibility.
The argument is becoming more about changes that benefit human beings rather than simply about genders or those in certain gender roles. People want more family time, more me time, less commuting hassles for the giving of their best work ethic in the office. And when parents are more involved with kids and can get tasks accomplished at more appropriate hours, everybody wins.
The Dying of One Ideology Giving Rise to Another
Remember when your parents taught you that to achieve your goals, you have to work hard? That means doubling down, working long hours, pushing forward with little sleep and making ourselves feel miserable. If we’re not working to death, we’re not working hard, right? The truth of our culture’s mindset is that “working to death” may actually be what we’re doing.
There’s nothing wrong with working hard to bring dreams to life. But when you compare other cultures, working hard seems to be more of a relative concept rather than a concrete definition. And as the world changes, it’s an evolving concept at that.
The average American work week in 2015 clocked in at 46.7 hours, or 49 hours for those on salary. It’s almost as if we recognize stress as a good thing, much like a pillar of excellence. When will we realize that, perhaps, health and mental well being are the real elements to be celebrated?
The movement toward more workplace flexibility gives a little more wiggle room to reflect on what makes us happy and what we care about most in life. A whopping 78 percent of parents noted that an unstructured work day would improve their health. As a society, we’ve reached the point to begin thinking about the results of choosing to live differently than the current, yet fading, norm.
Sacrificing pay doesn’t necessarily come with less stress (another damaging myth we’ve been taught). Many jobs come with higher salaries and chill environments, including ones that allow you to make your schedule and choose how much or how little you want to work.
Is it looking like your employer won’t allow more flexibility anytime soon? Determine what’s important to you. If you value more time with your children than your job provides, it may be time to find a career that fits you.
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