Moms put in as much overtime as non-parents: Survey

One-half want companies to help them with work-life balance

Being a parent is the hardest job in the world, but in today's society most moms also have a job outside the home. While the stereotype of a working mother is that she rushes out the door as soon as she can to make it home to her kids, the truth is working moms are just as likely as non-parents to work late and respond to e-mails after work, according to a new survey.

The Mother's Day conducted by staffing firm Adecco found 71 per cent of working moms and 73 per cent of non-parents will work late and stay connected to work even at home.

However, 32 per cent of all the 2,138 workers surveyed would be less inclined to ask a working parent (male or female) to do so. And even though they're willing to burn the midnight oil with the rest of their colleagues, 49 per cent of moms think their companies should do more to help them achieve better work-life balance.

More than one-half (60 per cent) of working moms think they have the same level of access to work-life benefits as non-parents but only 44 per cent of non-parents agree and 25 per cent think they have less access. Working mothers also find it more difficult to manage their families (71 per cent) than their careers (29 per cent) and 59 per cent of working mothers say becoming a mother has not impacted their career path, compared to 15 per cent who say it has had a negative impact.

"Mother's Day is the perfect time to celebrate all moms and particularly working moms given the challenges around juggling home life and career priorities," said Bernadette Kenny, CEO of Adecco.

She warned that the move to being available 24 hours a day, seven days a week is making it harder for working parents and all employees to find work-life balance.

Managers and business leaders alike can take several steps to help the working moms on their teams achieve better work-life balance:

- Reward productivity, not face-time: Today's workplace isn't confined within the four walls of an office building. BlackBerries, laptops, webmail - all have made it easy for work to take place virtually anywhere and at anytime. Rather than being hesitant to allow moms to take on flexible schedules or to work from home, be open to the idea. Be sure to set defined works goals and results beforehand, and evaluate based on productivity and contributions.

- Build an inclusive culture: Don't offer work-life balance programs to just moms, as this sort of preferential treatment can pit non-parents against their mom and dad counterparts. Build a culture where everyone feels their personal commitments, whether it be kids, a significant other or hobby, are honoured.

- Take your kids to work day: Show your working moms and dads that you support and respect their commitment to their families by actively participating in annual take your kids to work day. Inviting their children on-site will not only bring your staff closer, but will also serve to showcase the value their being a parent brings to the workforce.

- Practice what you preach: Managers and supervisors need to lead by example as behaviours and attitudes will be sure to trickle down. Respect your own work-life balance and try not to initiate or respond to e-mails on weekends or call staff after hours unless absolutely necessary.

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