In March of 2016, I was thrilled to learn I’d be joining the pMD team. The interview process was challenging but rewarding, and I couldn’t wait to learn from all of the incredible people I had met throughout the process. After about a month into my new role, I received even more exciting news: my husband and I would be welcoming a new baby in December. While sharing this news with a new employer so soon after starting would typically be daunting for a parent-to-be, I felt nothing but excitement to be telling my colleagues. Since pMD values open communication, I felt comfortable sharing the happy news and confident I would receive nothing but support. I am incredibly lucky to be part of a company that supports working parents. However, not everyone is as fortunate in their work situations. Here are a few things to consider when researching whether a company provides flexibility and a supportive network around working parents.
Have you checked out Glassdoor?
There is so much you can find on the internet! Anonymous employee review sites, such as Glassdoor, can provide insight into a potential employer before you submit your application. When I was on the hunt for a new position, this was the first place I would go to either confirm my interest or remove a company from my list. When you’re on these sites, look for buzzwords that may indicate if an organization is family-friendly. Even if you’re not thinking of expanding your family anytime soon, these sites are a great place to get candid employee feedback about a company and its pros, cons, and thoughts on executive leadership.
Do those in leadership have children?
Nobody is going to be more understanding of a family, work-life balance than those who have been in your shoes. It’s typically helpful if those in leadership roles can empathize with your situation and understand if you need to take time off when your baby gets sick because they’ve experienced this first-hand themselves. How do you assess if those in leadership roles have children? This can be a bit trickier than simply reading online reviews. It’s okay if you need to do a little sleuthing before you get onsite! During an onsite interview, it can be helpful to take note of what you see around the office. Are there children’s drawings? Do you see family photos? When you ask what they did this past weekend, did any of it involve family-related activities? An onsite visit allows for an open line of communication with the company employees, so if you feel comfortable asking questions, definitely take advantage of your time there!
What benefits are offered?
Health benefits are important to research before starting with any company. Having great health, vision, and dental benefits is extremely important when you’re thinking about taking care of your family. As a first-time mom, having good coverage affords me the option to take my child to the doctor on a regular basis, if needed. When you’re now thinking about more than just your own health, it’s critical that your employer provides strong and affordable health care options.
Are working conditions flexible?
Can you work from home if needed or are you required to be in the office from 8-5 every day? Having flexibility is so important for working parents. For example, if you’re a nursing mother, is your employer respectful of the time you need to pump? An employer that has no flexibility on hours spent in the office is something to consider for those who have a family, or are thinking of starting one in the future. Additionally, is the employer willing to work with you to optimize your working conditions? After welcoming my son last December, it was important for me to forgo all business travel until my son was at least a year old. I’m fortunate to work for a company that allows for such flexibility and accommodation.
Starting a family is one of the most exciting, and at times challenging, milestones in life. When you find an employer that is an advocate for working mothers and fathers, it can make a world of difference when trying to balance work and home life. While you can never know for certain what your situation may be in the future, taking steps to thoroughly do your research can help in making an educated decision as to what works best for both your career and your family.
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