As a SAHM (work very part-time from home) mom and talking to other SAHMs I’ve really started to build a Village. We swap childcare, war stories and dream about how we can make ourselves happier and our lives more fulfilled.
During a conversation a few months back a girlfriend and I were talking and I remarked on what a great life balance it would be if you could have a good (well paying), fun and interesting career by way of job sharing. I know teachers do it, but I haven’t heard of the corporate world adopting this family friendly practice. Two days on, three days off and the next week three days on, two days off. Perhaps both job sharers work three days a week for a one day overlap to connect? Parents could share a nanny, swap their kids. Is this something a corporate environment could adopt? How would health benefits work? Since two people would be doing one job, more employees would be needed. At what level of work would this be acceptable? Easier fill ins for sick days sure would be easier! Forbes ran an article that researched the cost-benefit to companies implementing family friendly practices. Basically, companies that started these programs were typically great companies to begin with. These programs were expensive, but the companies generally continued to grow, retain employees and build company citizenship. At the end of the day, the cost was a wash with the benefit. So why not!?
What else could a parent dream up to have a more family friendly workplace? At a couple recent very casual events at my husband’s progressive and awesome San Francisco company, our girls (aged 3.5 and 5.5 yrs) were some of the only kids around. A fantastic newly married staffer approached me for input on what they could do as a company to make events more attendable for parents and more family friendly, like a child-play corner at the office. What would it look like? What activities/toys would be in it? Should it be portable? Enclosed? Should the company hire care to ensure children’s safety, but also ensure the adults could mingle? We brainstormed a bit and then I mentioned job sharing and her mind was blown and she was so excited at even the idea of something like this, that she gathered members of her team to discuss and dream. What other family friendly perks could companies bring into the workplace?
As a parent and as someone who loves the excitement and joy of a job well done, the idea of job sharing and dreamed up family friendly practices sounds amazing and I couldn’t imagine a better place to work. I love that I currently get to work from home for pay in a wonderful organization that offers me great flexibility, however, I love PEOPLE and working from home doesn’t give you adult interaction. Job sharing could give the opportunity to still volunteer in the classroom, go on field trips, grocery shop on the off hours, make doctor’s appointments, and then the next day, go to work, pick up where your team member left of, focus and enjoy the company of fantastically happy and equally invested adults, then on Friday enjoy the wind-down of the week with the company’s Friday social club, while your kids enjoy the safety of their child play area.
If more women were in places of power, I don’t think this would just be a dream. We need to use our Villages and support each other. It could be a very real reality that could lend itself to much happier and productive, less distracted home and work-life.
Do you know of any companies doing this? What do you think? Let’s discuss!