Diversity Woman Magazine

SUM 2019

Leadership and Executive Development for women of all races, cultures and backgrounds

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DW Life > d i v e r s i t y w o m a n . c o m S u m m e r 2 0 1 9 D I V E R S I T Y W O M A N 39 ISTOCKPHOTO chores like cooking, cleaning, and laundry. What's more, the mental load that comes with managing tasks, such as making doc- tor's appointments, still falls dispropor- tionately on women. Happily, practices are evolving: women 45 and older in dual-income households are 2.6 times more likely than men in the same age group to perform most house- hold chores, but women age 24 to 34 are just 1.5 times as likely to carry a heavi- er load. As men take on more household responsibilities, telecommuting benefits them too. Women in the tech industry have found it particularly challenging to balance ca- reer and family life without flexible work options. e National Center for Women & Information Technology found that 56 percent of women with tech jobs leave their career at the midpoint, just when losing their talent costs their company the most. e report points out that con- ventional workplace conditions aren't natural, in that they were built to suit the original working population—men with stay-at-home wives. When Allison Robinson was on mater- nity leave, she learned that 43 percent of highly qualified women leave the work- force after becoming a mom. at sober- ing statistic prompted her to launch the Mom Project, a digital talent marketplace that connects women with meaningful work at companies that care about sup- porting women as they navigate the tran- sition into motherhood. More than 100,000 women have joined the Mom Project, which works with thousands of companies, from Fortune 500s like Nike and Facebook to midsized, high-growth companies like Pinterest. Moms create a profile on the platform— including the type of flexibility they want—and they receive coaching from the Mom Project talent team throughout the interview process. Some women prefer project-based op- portunities; others want full-time work with a parent-friendly company that al- lows flexibility. Navigating the new world of work While some employers might be concerned that their telecommuting em- ployees will skip work to lounge at the beach, those fears appear unfounded. Research shows that em- ployees are actually more productive and engaged when they're able to choose how and when they work. One study, conducted by Stanford University econo- mist Nicholas Bloom, showed that tele- commuting at one company led to a 13 percent increase in productivity and a 50 percent drop in attrition. If anything, it's important to watch for burnout. Research published in the Monthly L abor R eview showed that employees who reported working from home at least one hour per week ended up adding five to seven hours of work time to their week, compared to those working at the office. "Telecommut- ing cuts down on commuting time and makes one's work life more flexible, but it lengthens it," says sociologist Mary Noonan, PhD, who coauthored the re- search with Jennifer Glass, PhD. Other research found that telecom- muting can lead to feelings of isolation and may impact company culture. But companies are finding solutions to miti- gate those risks. Jane ompson, senior director of communications for Sage, an enterprise software company, felt some- what detached from her colleagues when she first began telecommuting. But evolv- ing technology has bridged the gap. "I found that with instant messaging, vid- eo conferencing applications like Webex, and communication platforms like Mi- crosoft Teams, I could feel like I was right there with my teams," ompson says. Sage's workforce spans various states and 23 countries, so telecommuting is key. e company offers telecommuters equip- ment such as a company-issued computer, licensed software, a phone and headset, and a printer. Like many remote workers, ompson has the best of both worlds. She's able to live in her preferred city— in her case, Austin, Tex- as—while keeping her ca- reer on track. Occasionally she meets with colleagues at the company's Atlanta headquarters. "Being able to work for a company I love, without having to up- root my home life, has been an amazing experience," she says. "Working remotely has not affected my ability to grow with and further invest myself in the company." At Peppercomm, a communications and marketing agency headquartered in New York City, employees can take advantage of the company's Work How DID YOU KNOW . . . ? The average telecommuter is college educated and 45 years of age or older, and earns a higher median salary than his or her in-office counterpart.

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