According to a 2015 study by Pew Research Center, 65% of working parents with college degrees– reported that it was “somewhat difficult” or “very difficult” to meet the simultaneous demands of work and family. Knowing this, I knew rejoining the workforce after being home for seven years with my two girls, now 10 and 12 was going to be a big adjustment for our family. I had been lucky that a significant part of my earlier career had been spent at an accounting firm, RSM that valued their employees and offered many programs for working parents with lots of flexibility. So, I knew that when I went back to work, I wanted to find a company that offered similar programs and that had an inclusive culture. I found that culture and fit at SparkPost when I joined the company in early 2017.
SparkPost is a company that values its employees and it shows within our culture, and our values. It’s evident in our normal workdays and in the programs we have in place. We offer flexible work hours, and all employees are able to work remotely on Fridays. We also have a significant amount of employees that work remotely every day. We demonstrate the value of flexibility knowing we hire the right people for a particular job even if they don’t live close to one of our offices.
For me, I’m able to juggle working on meaningful projects and am still able to pick my kids up from school many days. Of course, all working parents juggle competing priorities, and at times, it can be overwhelming. Author and executive coach, Daisy Waderman Dowling recently wrote an article for Harvard Business Review, called A Working Parents Survival Guide. Her writing reinforces for those of us that are working parents that we all face conflicts and stressors while we try and balance home and work life. The author highlights different challenges we tend to face and five powerful strategies to consider as part of our toolbox as a working parent. Some other useful tips are being “present’ when you are at work, sharing how you can be contacted and when you are accessible. And learning it’s okay to set boundaries whether it’s in relation to work or in other parts of your life.
The leaders of SparkPost know, that working parents make up a huge part of our company. Our Managers look out for their team members, help them reprioritize work and give them encouragement when needed. It’s all about transparency and open communication. Our team members know that they have the flexibility they need to handle a family issue, see their child perform in a band concert, or attend a school play. One Manager in our Customer Success Team feels empowered to lead his team, handle customer issues and coach his daughter’s soccer, field hockey, and lacrosse teams.
SparkPost provides many different benefits for employees. One benefit that supports our working parents is our eight weeks of Parental leave for those employees that either welcome a new baby into their family, choose to adopt or foster a child. There is definitely no negative judgment for those that use this leave. Some employees take all eight weeks at once, while others take it over a few months. No one size fits all. Speaking of which, we also have a Flexible Time Off policy which allows employees the opportunity to schedule vacations, volunteer, coach or address family situations that arise. Individuals are able to use the time when they need it and don’t have to worry about accruing time off.
As a working parent, one of our favorite days of the year is Take your Daughters and Sons to Work Day. This is a really fun day where we share SparkPost with our kids. The whole office gets involved in activities that day. It’s a day in which the kids are so excited to come to work, and the parents and our teammates have a fun day.
While not every day can be a party in the office, I find that many of us do want to work at a company that makes you feel valued and is committed to your professional growth. As a working parent, you spend a lot of time with those you work with, so it is important to find people that you like to work with as well. I feel lucky that I work with a great group of people at SparkPost. I want to send a shout out to all my coworkers that work hard every day and do their best in balancing their families and work life. It’s not always easy. And some weeks may seem harder than others. But together, we can make it work!
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