Guest Post contributed by Fairygodboss.
Companies finally seem be “getting it” when it comes to work-life balance. After all, it’s pretty common for a company’s recruiting site to be filled with photos of happy employees, and checklists of benefits that support people with lives and responsibilities outside work.
Still, the company pitch and reality can differ, and the real scoop can be tough to get.
What is work-life balance and flexibility really like at a company?
The best source is word-of-mouth, but if you can’t get insider information from trusted people in your network, many turn to company review sites.
The largest and most well-known job listing review boards include Glassdoor and Indeed. But new sites with more niche audiences are popping up as well, like Fairygodboss, which focuses on female employee reviews.
Since we are often sifting through the reviews and gaining feedback from women seeking the truth when it comes to “work-life” balance, we’ve learned a few key insights around the world of flex.
- Part-time work or remote options might only be available to certain employees. These policies may only apply to non-revenue generating, or non-managerial roles. Will flex limit your ability to advance or pick up raises? Are these trade-offs acceptable?
- You might end up getting part-time pay for full-time work. Many women who have tried working part-time programs after working full-time, understand this intuitively. On paper, it sounds great that a company offers a part-time program or work-from-home options. However, you may become quickly disillusioned if you find that you are working close to full-time hours for disproportionately less pay. Other companies may truly offer a legit program with opportunities for advancement and recognition, but you must probe companies for the specifics around their “flexible” schedules.
- There can be a stigma attached to flex work. Are only women gravitating toward these programs, or does the company culture provide flex options for all types of employees. Are bosses taking advantage of flex work? If yes, that’s a great sign the company understands the value of “work-life balance,” and it’s respected as a way to get the work done.
To really understand the culture and get beyond the company-speak featured on the website, talk to specific people to find out more.
In our own reviews captured via Fairygodboss, we’ve seen comments like:
“I have definitely hit my dead-end, there is no opportunity for promotion or increase in salary. Why do I stay? I stay because the people in my organization are pleasant to work with and I have a boss that I enjoy working for. My boss allows me great flexibility with my schedule, resulting in a great work/life balance which is priceless for a mom with small children.”
“Too eager to point out soft benefits, like adjusted hours and working from home, as an excuse for low pay (20% or more below industry mean). Unfortunately, these “benefits”–which wouldn’t be necessary if they paid appropriate salaries–reinforce stereotypes and reduce opportunities for recognition.”
“Great place to work as a Mom (little stress, flexible schedule, great PTO benefits, great health insurance). However, there is little room for upward mobility and pay is not competitive since benefits are rich.”
We allow our members to anonymously contact others who’ve spoken about work-life balance, and ask all the really hard questions. If you’re seeking your next career leap, consider checking out Fairygodboss.
Do you have any additional tips to learn more about a company’s policies around “work-life” programs?