Find a Solo Mom–friendly workplace
What is the ideal job for a Solo Mom? What do you dream about as a single mom when you think of a workplace that will support you? Believe it or not, there are companies like this! Some companies have benefits like child-care support, flexible schedules, and telecommuting. Others provide training programs geared to help working moms succeed professionally and achieve their career goals.
For a Solo Mom considering a new job, you must ask questions about what is important to you. Don’t be shy during the interview process. There are ways to tactfully learn if your potential employer allows its staff to work from home and adjust their schedule according to their child-care needs. Of course it can’t be the first thing you ask in a job interview, but it is reasonable during the second or third meeting to say things like, “Tell me what it’s like to work here,” “How do you find working here personally?” or “Tell me about the opportunities for flexibility in this work environment.”
Another way to learn about family friendliness is to ask if there are any groups of employees that meet regularly on specific topics. For instance, many companies have working parents affinity groups or groups for parents of children with special needs.
If you don’t feel comfortable asking the interviewer, ask someone else within the company. Also check out the company’s website to see what it says about values and work culture.
But if you want to get a head start on your job search, start with these family-friendly employers.
- A.T. Kearney. This management consulting firm is rewriting the rules. Its Success with Flex program permits employees to adjust their schedules, telecommute, and work remotely. Plus anyone putting in 20 hours per week earns full benefits. For those wishing to reduce their assignments or travel (while remaining professionally engaged), the firm may customize new roles, offer hybrid or internal consulting positions, or allow temporary segues into nonconsulting jobs.
- Avon. Millions of moms around the world have earned their living as independent representatives for this direct-sales beauty company. Women currently represent 65% of U.S. employees. In March 2013, it launched the Avon Women Empowered resource groups for associates at headquarters, research and development, and information technology facilities; those subsequently spawned 52 business development and member support initiatives of their own. Employees interested in pursuing higher education may take advantage of up to $5,250 in tuition aid annually. A renewed focus on benefits has led to an increase in maternity leave (now it’s at least 10 fully paid weeks, up from eight), and parents can access 20 days of backup care per year.
- CISCO. This information technology and networking company views work flexibility as a right not a privilege. When formal alternative work options debuted here in 2009, 90% of people already worked from home an average of two days per week. Today, that figure is 95% and climbing, and the majority of full-time remote workers are female. Everyone uses loaner laptops, virtual office solutions, and videoconferencing equipment to stay connected. Fewer than 50% of employees work at the same site as their managers. Moms seeking reduced hours can search for internal jobs marked part-time or job-share.
- Johnson and Johnson. Community spirit is encouraged by this health-care company, which gives employees 16 paid hours off to volunteer every year and permits those with needed skills, training, or certifications to take 80 hours of partially paid leave to work with nonprofits or help out in a disaster relief zone. If employees donate cash to a nonprofit organization, the employer will match it two-for-one, up to $10,000 per year. Moms who want to get involved in their kids’ classrooms may be able to flex their schedules. A new program promotes email-free weekends that amplify free time.
Image via Shutterstock.com
Jennifer Graff is the director of compliance at Wells Fargo Insurance Services. She is dedicated to helping people navigate the complex world of employee benefits and employment law.
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