A friend recently shared a story about the time her son was undergoing emergency surgery when her employer demanded that she return to the office. “It was the worst day of my life,” she recalled. “I couldn’t believe anyone could be so heartless. I wasn’t asking for a trip to the Caribbean—I just wanted to be there for my son during a scary medical crisis.”
Once her son’s condition stabilized, she found a different job—one that respected her need to be both an employee and a parent.
Unfortunately, her story is not unusual. With women now comprising 40 percent of household breadwinners, more working mothers are grappling to balance work demands with family needs. It’s a key factor driving the trend toward work flexibility and remote work options—and it’s a trend that’s here to stay.
And it’s not only employees who benefit; if done right, companies stand to gain, too.
At TorchLight, our company has achieved explosive growth since we first opened four years ago, and having a remote team—coincidentally, all of whom are working moms—has been a key to our success.
These advantages are available to any company exploring work flexibility options:
- Top talent: When your business isn’t reliant on geography, you can search out the very best talent for your team—no matter where they are.
- Cost savings: The company saves significant money each year because we don’t have costly overhead associated with expensive office leases, equipment, parking, and transportation. And, with a number of working mothers preferring part-time hours to accommodate family needs, the company saves money on full-time salaries and benefits.
- Productivity: According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the average U.S. worker spends 24.5 minutes commuting to work (one way) each day. Here in Washington, D.C., workers lose 82 hours a year just sitting in workday traffic. As a remote company, not only do our employees save time and money because they don’t commute, they also start each workday in good spirits and with energy because they aren’t frazzled from the minute they walk in the door. And, happy, productive employees are good for any company!
- Retention: When employees feel supported in both professional and personal lives, they are more likely to stay.
- Health: Some studies show that workplace flexibility can even dramatically improve employee health and wellness. Less time commuting means less stress and more time to take a walk, eat a healthy breakfast, or spend a little extra quality time with the kids.
After all, what’s good for families is good for business—and vice versa.
Heidi Parsont is president and CEO of TorchLight Hire, LLC, an Alexandria, Virginia-based search and placement firm that places mid- to senior-level marketing, communications, product, and research professionals with client companies across all industries in contract, contract-to-hire, and permanent roles in the DC metro area.