Can You Ask Your Boss for Child Care Flexibility Without Hurting Your Career?
CEOs have said it’s OK for employees to ask for help with child care responsibilities during the pandemic. But is it really?
More workers, especially mothers with young kids, are struggling now while managing child care, remote learning and their jobs. Companies have rolled out and touted flexibility initiatives. But many employees remain afraid that asking for reduced hours or a more flexible schedule puts their career—or even their employment—at risk.
An encouraging sign, HR executives say, is that bosses are generally more open to these discussions and companies are creating more options. Eighty-six percent of organizations said they were implementing or considering allowing flexible hours, while 63% said they were implementing or considering allowing reduced hours, according to a Society for Human Resource Management survey of 1,087 human-resources professionals across U.S. organizations in May.
人力资源高管表示，一个令人鼓舞的迹象是，老板们通常对这些讨论更加开放，公司正在创造更多的选择。根据人力资源管理协会(Society For Human Resource Management)5月份对全美1,087名人力资源专业人士的调查，86%的组织表示，他们正在实施或考虑允许弹性工作时间，而63%的组织表示，他们正在实施或考虑允许减少工作时间。
“Being flexible right now is everything,” Kendra Scott, CEO of Kendra Scott LLC, an Austin-based lifestyle and fashion brand, said at the WSJ Women In the Workplace Forum, held Sept. 30 online. “Moms right now are trying to figure out how to do their calls and also take care of their kids on their Zoom classes all over the country. And so, hey, maybe from 9 to 2 is not the ultimate time to have meetings with these moms. Let them present times that work for you.”
肯德拉·斯科特(Kendra Scott LLC)是一家总部位于奥斯汀的生活方式和时尚品牌，该公司首席执行官肯德拉·斯科特(Kendra Scott)在9月9日举行的“华尔街日报”职场女性论坛(WSJ Women In The Workplace Forum)上说：“现在灵活就是一切。”30点在线。“妈妈们现在正努力想办法打电话，同时还要在全国各地的Zoom课堂上照顾她们的孩子。所以，嘿，也许9点到2点不是和这些妈妈们见面的最佳时间。让他们呈现适合你的时间吧。“。
But it’s not a given that your company will accommodate you: Nearly 60% of organizations said they would handle child care accommodation requests on a case-by-case basis, according to the Society for Human Resource Management survey. Only 16% said accommodations would be granted to all employees who requested them. And 7% said employees would be required to return to the worksite when scheduled without additional consideration for child care.
但你的公司是否会接纳你并不是必然的：根据人力资源管理协会(Society For Human Resource Management)的调查，近60%的组织表示，他们将根据具体情况处理托儿住宿请求。只有16%的人表示，所有提出要求的员工都会获得住宿。7%的人表示，员工将被要求按计划返回工作地点，而不会额外考虑照看孩子。
In many workplaces there is still a stigma in asking for flexibility. Some bosses may view it as an indication that you’re less committed to the job, says Erin Kelly, a professor at MIT Sloan School of Management who studies flexible arrangements.
在许多工作场所，要求灵活性仍然是一种耻辱。麻省理工学院斯隆管理学院(MIT Sloan School Of Management)研究灵活安排的教授艾琳·凯利(Erin Kelly)表示，一些老板可能会认为这表明你对工作不那么投入。
Having a clear plan helps you make your case. Propose a detailed alternative arrangement, including how you will get your work done, rather than putting the burden on your employer to find a solution, experts say. For instance, if you need to make time for children in the morning, propose shifting your start time back a couple of hours, and work later into the evening.
If you need to lessen your workload entirely, be upfront: Ask to work at, say, 75% capacity without having to complete your work under a condensed timetable, says Dr. Kelly. Bosses now have a front-row seat to child care challenges, which can make it easier to make your case, says Erica Volini, global human capital leader at Deloitte Consulting. “What remote work has provided is more transparency into your home life—that can be used as a starting point,” she adds.
凯利博士说，如果你需要完全减轻工作量，开诚布公地说：比如，要求以75%的能力工作，而不必在精简的时间表内完成工作。德勤咨询公司(Deloitte Consulting)全球人力资本负责人埃里卡·沃里尼(Erica Volini)表示，老板们现在可以优先处理儿童保育方面的挑战，这可以让你更容易提出理由。“远程工作为你的家庭生活提供了更多的透明度--这可以作为一个起点，”她补充道。
Emphasize your ability to continue to deliver quality work and why it would be beneficial for the company, says Sandi Stewart, an executive coach based in Washington, D.C. Propose clear timelines for how and when you’ll get the work done. Reassert your commitment to staying with the company long-term and point to prior achievements. “Move their attention from hours of the day to the value you bring,” says Ms. Stewart.
One common mistake: Failing to mention the bigger picture of how you can help a company thrive at time when many people are in this situation. “Most people fail to take a step back from their personal dilemma,” says Ms. Stewart.
When her employer started asking people to come back into the office this month, Lydia Elle wanted the flexibility to continue working from home. Ms. Elle, an operations research analyst who lives in Los Angeles, is a single mother with a fifth-grade daughter who’s attending class online. Ms. Elle needed to be available to help her daughter with assignments and to answer questions during the day.
She made her case by pointing to the success she’d already had in working from home since the pandemic began: “I had a body of work that was similar if not better than when I was in the office,” she says. It was easier to bring up her child care needs because her colleagues had already gotten a window into her home-life on video calls. She got permission to work from home and is also able to shift her workday later. “It was a really good time for them to be more human,” she says.
Some workers say the discussion around pandemic challenges is making it easier to talk about flexibility more broadly. Before her maternity leave ended in May, Aviva Tropp, associate partner at Prophet, a consulting firm, realized she didn’t want to restart her busy 10-hour days right away.
She talked with co-workers first, and then a boss. She says the pandemic helped her broach the subject of work-life balance. “Everybody was talking about this already,” she says. “The firm was open to exploring different options.”
She came in with a detailed plan: She asked to work 60% of the time for a few weeks as a transition, and then reassess. They agreed, and she agreed to a proportional pay cut during that time. After a month of the reduced workload, she felt comfortable resuming full-time work. “It was seamless,” she says.