Millions ofstruggle each year to balance career and childcare. Fortunately, more options exist for working than ever before. If you want to find a solution that satisfies your family and your employer, read on.
Can greatbe great workers?
Rising to the Challenge
Many companies now recognize the value in supporting parental commitments. This is especially true since the Family and Medical Leave Act passed in 1993, prompting corporate America to offer working a certain amount of security. For smaller companies, a family-friendly environment means flexible hours, telecommuting options, and support for who need to attend to a sick child. Larger companies might provide onsite day care, extra days off for family time or maternity leave, and dependent child programs.
Parents can learn more about family-friendly companies online. One site, familyfriendly.com, features a searchable database of companies that provide specific programs for working
Some daycare centers offer an occasional peak into their daily activities via an interactive Web site.
Other Web resources can helpresearch and select a quality daycare program. Babycenter.com has a complete daycare section, including a chart that evaluates different centers, stay-at-home options, nannies, preschools, and relative caregivers. This site also provides a list of questions to ask during child caregiver interviews.
Case in Point
Parents know that the childcare arrangement they choose will impact the well being of their child and their own at work. Parents who constantly worry about the quality of their child’s environment–or who rely on an unprepared caregiver–suffer from stress that may derail their careers.
One parent who knows a good daycare choice when she sees it is Stacy Sass, publishing professional and mother of two young children. After careful research, Sass found a center that provided a good environment and great teacher-to-child ratio. However, if one of her children had a fever or runny nose, Sass or her husband had to stay home from work. They were always able to work through such difficulties, but the daycare center eventually grew and raised the number of kids per teacher. The family opted for in-home care and hired a nanny.
The individual care option worked out well, but Sass points out the difficulty in finding a good nanny. Even if a candidate interviews well and has impressive references, there is still a chance that the person will spend too much time watching TV or talking on the phone.
New Technology, Old Concerns
Some are now opting to invest in a home Webcam system to keep tabs on their children while at work. Some daycare centers even offer an occasional peak into their daily activities via an interactive Web site. Working take a short break and watch their preschooler play with friends–or even check in on the nanny at home.
Parents have to deal with a sick child every now and then, and some companies have geared up to help. Eddie Bauer, for example, provides time off forto spend with an ill child. Another company, Lincoln Financial Group, has been frequently praised by Working Mother magazine for providing such benefits as child-care subsidies and back-up childcare assistance.
All in all, this just makes good business sense. Supportingas they try to balance dual roles ultimately pays off. Employees are more likely to stay loyal to the company–and stay focused on the job.