Gender parity and working parents are the themes running through this week’s list of work-life reads.
But that’s to be expected when Anne-Marie Slaughter’s dropping a new book and McKinsey’s dropping data bombs. Add a Nike exec’s take on leadership's impact on work-life balance, a dash of grandparental leave, an alternative view on telecommuting and you’ve got 10 of this week’s best work-life reads.
Take a look. Enjoy. And share your favorite reads from the week in the comments.
- “Women in the Workplace 2015”
Yes, it’s a report and yes it’s more than a week old at this point. But it’s still well worth your time if sharp insights into the state of women in corporate America are your thing. From leadership ambition gaps and gender parity perception problems to professional networks and inequities at home, this report from Lean In and McKinsey, based on a study of nearly 30,000 employees across 118 companies, details some of the most important realities of our modern workforce.
- “To Make Big Change, Start Small: Have the Conversation with Your Boss”
Let me let you in on a little secret: When New America President and CEO Anne-Marie Slaughter writes about work-life, it’s going to make the list. In this piece for LinkedIn, Slaughter tackles an important workplace challenge many employees face when looking to address work-life issues – talking to your boss. Follow the five steps Slaughter lays out, and you just might find yourself on the road to a better work-life fit. Find the five steps here.
RELATED: How to Get Employees to Open Up About Work-Life Challenges
- “Working grandparents to share parental leave and pay”
And now it’s time for a reminder that the U.S. is literally generations behind other countries when it comes to providing paid parental leave for new parents. As this BBC piece reports, working grandparents in the UK will be allowed to share parental leave and statutory pay to help care for their grandchildren. The move is viewed as a way to allow parents to return to work more quickly – potentially keeping more women in the workforce and improving gender parity. Read more about the program here.
- “What’s Lost When Most People Work From Home”
We’ve all seen the statistics showing how flexible work arrangements can improve productivity. But what about the other side of the coin? New research out of George Mason and Boston College, published in the Academy of Management Discoveries, explores the effects widespread telecommuting can have detrimental effect on the office environment. As The Atlantic reports, the study further found that family demands and productivity were less of a motivator among remote workers than factors like office culture. Read more about the study here.
- “Child Care Is More Expensive Than College In Most States”
The Huffington Post covers an analysis of child care costs released this week by the Economic Policy Institute, which found that the cost of child care for an infant is more than the price of in-state tuition at public four-year colleges in 33 states and Washington, DC. As the piece notes, child care has become more prominent in national politics of late, including among Democratic presidential candidates. Learn more about the study here.
RELATED: 9 Ways the Cost of Care Affects Working Parents' Careers
- “D.C.’s amazing paid family leave proposal: Generous and long overdue”
Momentum around paid family leave continues to grow in the United States, with the latest proposal coming out of our nation’s capital. Washington D.C. – the city, not the federal government, as Washington Post columnist Petula Dvorak points out – has proposed 16 weeks of paid parental leave for all workers. She calls it “legislated humanity,” and really it is a progressive policy that goes beyond what other city and state governments have enacted. In any event, it’s a strong move toward supporting the working families who are the lifeblood of our economy. Learn more about it here.
RELATED: Boston's Paid Parental Leave Proposal is Wicked Smaht Employer Branding
- “Who’s responsible for managing work-life balance? Amazon, Nike and other execs weigh in”
To what extent are employers and managers responsible for helping workers manage work-life balance? Interesting perspectives on that topic as execs weighed in during a GeekWire Summit last week. We love the stuff on leadership from Nike COO Eric Sprunk. Check it out here or watch the video below.
- “What the U.S. could learn from Sweden’s 6-hour work day”
By now you’ve probably read at least one piece on Sweden firms testing out six-hour work days. This piece in Fortune suggests that American companies should adopt six-hour days because, why not? Statistics suggest most U.S. employees only actually work six out of the eight hours they log in the office anyway, and formalizing the six-hour day would help to reduce stress and improve work-life balance. Read more about the hypothesis here.
- “Why We Can’t Afford Another Child” “I am wondering about the sustainability of the system we’ve created for working parents,” writes Ashley Daigneault, as part of a pop-up conversation about working parents on Medium. “I’m wondering how we continue to put more demands on young people coming out of school (graduate degrees are a must, multiple unpaid internships are a must, accepting low-paying wages right out of college is the norm), and expect them to acquire high enough paying jobs to justify their student loan debt. And I’m wondering how those young people go on to build a family, have kids and be able to finance care for those kids while they work.” An excellent account of what it’s like to be a young, working parent who’s trying to do all the right things. Read it here.
- “Gender Equality Could Unlock Trillions of Dollars of Economic Growth”
Improving gender equality across the globe is a $12 trillion economic opportunity, says a new report from McKinsey consultants. “Never mind the moral reasons for advancing women’s rights,” writes Fast Company’s Ben Schiller, “There’s an overwhelming economic case for enabling women to participate more equally in economy and society.” Get the story here.