Working Parents Need Flexibility (and Why They’re Worth It)

This month, we’re celebrating working parents. One specific blog recently caught my attention, which was written by Los Angeles RVP Janelle Bieler and is titled “Lesson’s from my 4-year-old” (

In her blog, Janelle speaks to some of the great behavioral traits she sees in her 4 year-old and mimics in her own daily routine, including tenacity, being prepared and starting the day off right. This got me to thinking that just about every working, career-focused parent I know, does each of those things with ease.

Why? Because our entire lives are one big juggling act and, in order to be successful in our jobs and in our home lives, we don’t have a choice. So, we learn to prioritize, we learn to multitask, we learn to ‘get-er-done’. For this very reason, I love hiring working and returning-to-work parents! That said, as valuable as they are and as much as they

can get done in a shorter amount of time then most, working parents do require some flexibility in their schedule. I know, you may be thinking, “ There is no way I can offer that.” However, working parents bring more to the table than you may realize at first glance.

Cultivating Loyalty

Let’s start with a quick personal story. In my first couple months in a new job, my 4-year-old was kicked out of preschool. In addition, I was given exactly one week to find a solution. As any parent can tell you, you don’t find a solution in one week. However, much to my surprise, I was able to get resolution relatively quickly, just not within the week, which included a nanny who was referred to me by one of my customers. It doesn’t get any better than that, right? However, the childcare provider was unable to start until after Thanksgiving due to prior engagements, which left me with two weeks with no morning childcare. Totally embarrassed but without much option, I reached out to my new leader and shared the situation – hoping that because I was new and still had my training wheels on, she may be open to allowing me use PTO to cover the morning childcare issue.

Without a second thought, she responded promptly, told me she totally understood and had been a single parent to young children herself for a time. She advised me to just to work from home until my nanny could start. HOLY COW! Can you imagine the incredible gratitude and loyalty I felt for her compassionate response?

Her leadership stook in direct contrast to a different boss I had in my early career who didn’t care that I was 7+ months pregnant and still expected us to wear heels – no loyalty lost there whatsoever. Did the flexibility my recent boss allowed me affect the level of our work productivity? Did it interfere with my ability to get the job done? Not at all. If anything, the loyalty that resulted from that act of kindness and understanding created an even bigger need to do an even better job.

The Importance of Flexibility

It’s safe to say that by offering flexibility to working parents, at a bare minimum, you earn their loyalty — and we’ve already established their talented ability to multitask and prioritize with the best of them. So, now let’s talk about what type of flexibility working parents need and just how easy it is to offer. The same reasons some hiring managers may (illegally) avoid these type of candidates are the same things they need, including flexibility in their day.

Their kids may get sick and either need an unexpected PTO day or to be able to work from home. Their children may have after-school activities, doctor’s appointments and possibly the ability to drop them off or pick them up from school which means, they

need flexible start and end times. In addition, sometimes, parents need to leave right at 5 pm due to the family’s schedule, however, as we all know, sometimes our job isn’t necessarily done at 5 pm. So, being able to get back online at night after school activities and dinner are done means you are truly giving your team member more time in the day to be successful.

In every situation, it has always worked out in my favor where my parents give back way more than the flexibility being afforded to them, without question. In all of my career, I have never had to mandate overtime – not once because my teams have always volunteered and/or gotten the job done in time to avoid weekend work. In addition, I’ve had two fantastically talented working parents who have followed me from my previous company to my new one because they know that I help create an environment that as working parents, they can thrive in – just as my previous leaders have done for me.


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