For 31 years, America has introduced and applied the phrase work-life balance in the work environment. The goal use of this phrase was to demonstrate a company’s interest in valuing their employee’s well-being and balance of their life at work and at home. It’s great that many, if not all companies include this in their principles, but a shift has occurred that has often been overlooked.
The shift of the desires of the working mother has changed over the past three decades. Working mothers have increased their level of educational attainment and are choosing to stay in the workplace even after having multiple children. They desire more in their career, and this presents an unbalanced reality of what work-life balance is portrayed to be.
Nearly 60% of working mothers who participated in a Meltdown Momma survey stated that they have turned down promotional opportunities due to the current makeup of the workplace. Top reasons for this decision are due to travel and work schedule demand needed to fulfill the position. And if flexibility or change in the approach in how the demand is met is introduced, it is being seen as a special privilege.
So this raises the question. What is the true goal of this phrase “work-life balance” for companies that choose to only conditionally apply this principle? The growth in the education of working mothers and their desire to “lean in” in the workplace are being stifled by traditional thinking of what is productive in the work environment. Work-life balance must shift from an under-applied phrase to a truly implemented principle that integrates work and life well-being. So how can work-life balance in the construct of the American workplace evolve to current times?
Each company and employee must increase awareness and evaluate how work-life balance is applied in their environment. To meet a need, there must be open dialogue and a review of benefits that come as a result of evolution in the workplace.
Meltdown Momma is currently working on a documentary project that will capture the challenges that working mothers face while trying to thrive in their career and maintain “balance” in their home life. “The Rise of the Working Mother” documentary will shed light on the plight of the ambitious working mother. The goal is to raise awareness, spark conversations and identify strategies that can be implemented at some scale at companies that seek a need to evolve. Strategies proposed will be supported by companies that currently adapt a flexible environment and are experiencing a lower turnover rate, increased engagement and satisfaction in their working mother demographic. The goal is to help not only the working mother, but the company and other employees as well.