For instance, Cali Williams Yost, who advises corporations on work-life balance issues, tells the story of a young, single employee with no children who asked his company if he could come in late on Thursdays to train for a marathon, promising to make up the hours at other times. “And I’d like to ride in a hot air balloon every Monday.” The sarcasm so disturbed the employee that he threatened to quit.
The Yahoo no-work-from-home brouhaha had working moms up in arms last week.
Professional women with children had been dealt a blow, they said. We need to stop acting like they’re not part of the work-life conversation.
“No one wants to talk about this because they don’t want to be the jerk that doesn’t support the kids,” says Yost, who recalls another employee who burst into tears in one consulting session because of all the last-minute travel she was being asked to do.
She didn’t think she could tell her company what a constant challenge and stress it was to find someone to watch her dog at a moment’s notice.
There are no easy answers, but everyone knows who tends to win out in that scenario — or in a case where two colleagues ask to leave early and one has a cutoff for day-care pickup while the other has a dinner date. We all have families, they just take different forms. And the initial step, Ryan says, is to show employees that it’s okay to have workplace flexibility for something other than picking up your kids.