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blogging on flexibility in the workplace

Is it over already? The Debate about Women and Work Lasted Less than a Week

Cross posted with author permission from the Huffington Post.



So many readers of my last blog post thought I was endorsing Rick Santorum, his policy prescriptions and all the anti-gay and anti-women statements he has made when I wrote that I’d miss him in the Presidential contest.

Not at all.

As I wrote, I don’t agree with his policy prescriptions, but I wish that we had people in both presidential campaigns who are forcing our country to confront the hard issues of how we raise our children and support our families at a time of growing single-parent households and growing childhood poverty.

Case in point:  The inane media debate over who works harder—stay-at-home mothers or mothers who work outside the home—and the fact that less than a week later, it seems to be over.

Work Stronger, Not Longer

Cross-posted at Out of My Head

An article on made the rounds yesterday about returning to a 40 hour work week. Sound familiar?

The new ideal was to unleash “internal entrepreneurs” — Randian übermenschen who would devote all their energies to the corporation’s success, in expectation of great reward — and who were willing to assume all the risks themselves. In this brave new world, the real go-getters were the ones who were willing to put in weekends and Saturdays, who put their families on hold, who ate at their desks and slept in their cubicles. Forty-hour weeks were for losers and slackers, who began to vanish from America’s business landscape. And with their passing, we all but forgot all the very good reasons that we used to have those limits.

I posted the article on Facebook and got a lot of agreement from entrepreneur friends, then I sent it in an email and got complete push back from an entrepreneur friend. Hot button topic much?

3 Key to Making Unlimited Vacation Policies Actually Work

The concept of unlimited vacation or “no vacation policy” is becoming a popular idea. Large companies like IBM, HubSpot, and Netflix have kicked the standard two-week vacation policy to the curb.

Over the years, we’ve worked with many organization, big and small, to help them implement a Results-Only Work Environment (ROWE). A big part of this process is helping management and employees understand what it takes to make a “no vacation policy” actually work.

Naturally, people love the idea of unlimited vacation. You hear about it and you want it for yourself. But it’s easy to say, harder to do. “We’re going to have unlimited vacation from now on!” just doesn’t cut it.

Management expects employees to jump for joy, but instead what we find is that employees and leadership have a lot of questions and concerns. We hear things like:

“What do you mean? You’re taking away my vacation?”

“How will I ever take a vacation then?”

“Is this just a sneaky way to get me to work MORE?”

Time Off For Babies: Why it matters

A report released by Human Rights Watch on Feb 23, 2011 titled Failing Its Families offers a critique of the historical and current support provided by the United States government for family-leave programs. The US is cited as one of just three countries worldwide offering no legal guarantee of paid maternity leave for working families.  The question of a legal guarantee for paid paternity leave, or paid guardian leave was not raised in the report. The 1993 Family Medical Leave Act does provide for up to 12 weeks of job protected unpaid leave for men and women, yet covers only about half of the workforce.

There is of course also no guaranteed support provided for non-working families in the US, unless the mother is living at such a level of poverty that she and her baby qualify for a government aid program. Yet in these cases poverty is the reason the aid is provided – it is not in general provided as recognition of the fact that a new member has joined society and we all want to make sure that she/he gets off to a good start.

A Working Mom’s Journey to a Results-Only Work Environment

I want to share a story from my friend, Rebecca. She’s a successful lawyer and mom, and she’s been on the hunt for a better work environment. I hope you enjoy her story.

In June 2012, I wrote a blog post called “Having It All”. I shared my journey through law school, the entry into private practice, having a baby, and my plan to claw and scratch my way into a work environment that allowed me to have it all.

A Day in the Lives of 15 Working Mothers

Have you ever wondered if your work day is anything like other working mothers days? Recently, my website followed the working day of each of our work-mom bloggers (15 of us!) and we found it fascinating to see how alike our days actually are. (Credit for this terrific idea goes to our blogger Christa Allard)

A few themes we discovered:

  • We are all, very, very tired at the end of the day.
  • We often use the TV to entertain our kids while we get ready for work in the morning and/or try to prepare dinner at night.
  • Working moms are heroes! Seriously. It’s amazing how much each of us gets done in a single day.

Check out each one of our blog posts. I think you’ll find we all have a lot more in common than you may think.

7 Health Benefits Your Wellness Program Doesn’t Have

Does your office have a gym? Do you have group exercise classes, weigh-ins, nutrition experts, and incentive programs for staying healthy? Wellness programs are a hot topic right now. Naturally, with out-of-control health care and insurance costs, companies are looking for ways to save money and keep their employees healthier.

Now, let me ask you something else. Do you sit at a desk from 8-5? Do you stress out about staying home sick from work, or staying home with a sick child? Do you get nervous thinking about your dwindling or non-existent paid time off? These issues effect not only our wellness, but our productivity at work.

The point we’re making is this: the traditional daily grind at the office doesn’t promote a holistic concept of wellness. Wellness programs are great, but does the company culture undermine those same programs? We have to think of wellness in bigger terms if we want to truly promote the health and productivity of all employees.

UPS Hearts Logistics. Pregnant Employees, Not So Much.

By Ariela Migdal, Senior Staff Attorney, ACLU Women’s Rights Project

Peggy Young delivered letters and packages sent by air for UPS. When she got pregnant after struggling with infertility and IVF, her doctor recommended that she not lift more than 20 pounds. She asked UPS, where she had worked since 1999, for a "light duty" assignment, so that she could continue working through her pregnancy.

UPS said no. It explained that its policy was to offer light duty assignments or "inside" jobs to lots of different kinds of workers who were temporarily unable to perform their regular tasks: workers who were injured on the job, workers with a qualifying disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act, workers who lose their commercial driving licenses because of an off-the-job injury, and workers involved in a car accident.

As a result, Peggy was put on unpaid leave with no medical coverage.

Heavy Lifting, Part II: Discrimination Against Mothers is the Strongest Form of Gender Bias

co-written with Rachel Dempsey

In the last post, we talked about the problem of pregnancy discrimination against women in hourly jobs – cases where mothers were refused simple accommodations that would help them have healthy pregnancies. Discrimination against pregnant women and mothers is a huge problem for working-class women, for whom a single missed day at work could mean that they lose both their jobs and the ability to support their families.

[Infographic] Who’s the Boss: Micro-manager or Coach?

If micro-managers are like babysitters, then the bosses we all hope to have are like great coaches.

Coaches inspire and bring out the best in their team. Micro-managers slowly suck the life out of you.

Everybody knows a micro-manager, but nobody claims to be one. Certainly, bosses view themselves differently than their employees see them. 1 in 3 managers say they use a coaching style, but only 1 in 5 employees agree (according to this Adecco study). So, here’s my take on some of the most distinctive attributes of an inspiring coach and a micro-manager.

Take this quiz and see what kind of boss you are, or grade your own boss. (You can be honest… we won’t be taking grades!)

What else would you add to this list?


Who controls your time?

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