In the majority of modern families, both parents work. But part-time work is what moms (and dads) really want.
More than 60 percent of moms said working part-time would be their ideal situation, according to the results of a Care.com and Yahoo Parenting Happiness Survey of nearly 1,800 people. And 71 percent of respondents think women working part-time are happiest. Those results are fairly consistent with what Pew Research has said about moms’ preferences in recent years.
(If you’re curious, 35 percent of dads said working part-time would be their ideal.)
What’s interesting about the Happiness Survey’s findings is that there was no difference between part-time and full-time working moms when it comes to career motivation. It’s an affirmation that moms who want to work part-time aren’t necessarily looking to step away from their careers, and a reflection of the growth in the amount of part-time, flexible and work from home opportunities for highly skilled women.
For today’s working moms, working part-time is full of possibilities. And for employers, there are many ways to capitalize on this willing workforce.
What Is Part-Time Work, Anyway?
There’s no precise definition of full-time or part-time employment under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), so exactly what constitutes part-time work varies based on circumstance and employer. But what’s clear from the Happiness Survey results is that “the hours” was what part-time working moms liked best about their jobs.
This allows employers quite a bit of flexibility to provide arrangements that meet a mom’s desire to work part-time.
This isn’t your mother’s part-time work we're talking about -- industries from academia to technology and everything in between are offering part-time and flexible work arrangements for highly skilled women who want to scale back without stepping away from their careers. From three- or four-day weeks to work from home days and flexible schedules, there are plenty of options.
So what’s an employer to do when you want engaged employees but don’t want to open up a part-time job can of worms? Here are a few ways you can attract and retain those employees who want part-time flexibility within a full-time job:
- Focus on Results
Prioritizing results over facetime is the first and simplest step employers can take to help working moms (and dads, and all caregivers, and all employees for that matter) improve their work-life fit. Think about it: If the work is done at a high level, shouldn’t that matter more than when or where it gets done? This principle applies whether your employees are working part time or working from home a few days a week. If you can prioritize results and embrace flexibility, you’ll be able to shift organizational culture and your reward will be more engaged, loyal and productive employees.
Read More About Treating Working Moms Better
- Embrace Technology
The modern workplace isn’t confined within office walls. Thanks to the emergence of tools like GoToMeeting, Evernote, Dropbox, Trello, Skype and Google Docs, communicating and collaborating with distributed talent is easier than ever before.
Find Out How To Make Working From Home Work For You
- Hire Smartly
If you hire awesome employees who work hard and fit your organizational values, you should be able to trust them to deliver high-level results even in a culture of flexibility. Evaluate applicants based on cultural, skill and communication fit, and then hire the best people for your organization, period. Eighty-four percent of part-time working moms described themselves as motivated in their careers and 93 percent rate their work as very good to excellent. If the only knock on an applicant is that she wants to be in the office four days a week instead of five, think about what she will add to your organization rather than automatically dismissing the request for flexibility as a dealbreaker.
What would be your ideal employment situation? Working full-time? Part-time? Or not at all? Tell us in the comments. And learn more about the happiness of working parents at Care.com/Happy