My blood is boiling after reading a Washington Post article quoting employees -- mostly working parents -- worried that seeking flexible work schedules would hurt their careers or even cost them their jobs. As is often the case, the headline turns a decent piece into every working mother's nightmare, asking "will working from home lead to a layoff?"
My answer -- no. But you have to be smart about it. Don't take advantage of a generous telecommuting policy by skimping on child care or failing to keep up your network at the office. The woman quoted in the article who had to stop telecommuting to keep her job is a textbook example of the mistake many new working moms make in trying to watch a toddler while working from home. As far as I'm concerned, if she's being paid for five days of work each week, that's what she should give the company. Not many moms can put in a full day's work while caring for a toddler.
The article fails to present any evidence that companies are cutting back on family friendly policies. In fact, I've already written in this space about a survey that showed the opposite -- when forced to reduce pay and benefits, employers are actually expanding telecommuting and flex work programs to make up for it.
I guess I'm angry that anyone, whether unnamed middle managers or family unfriendly employers, would take advantage of the justified fear that people have of losing their jobs by cutting back programs that are shown to improve retention and productivity. And I want to encourage working moms to continue to put your families first and ask for what you truly need to balance work and life. If you're a solid producer with a proven track record, it won't hurt you to raise the question.
What's your take on it?