4 Factors Job Seeking Parents Should Keep in Mind

When considering a potential job offer, we are often acutely aware of such factors as pay, opportunities for advancement and benefits like health insurance. These are important, but sometimes the less-obvious features of a job/employer can be the difference between a difficult situation and a job situation that well suits you and your family situation. When assessing jobs and employers, be sure to consider the following:

Time Demands-  Doing some comparative research on industries, sectors (for-profit, nfp, private, public) and employers may reveal that similar jobs may come with different work cultures and time demands. It may be worthwhile to explore positions at various types of employers, as time benefits may be worth more to you than higher pay.

Time/Place Flexibility- Different employers have different attitudes toward telecommuting and other flexible work options. Some employers want all their employees at the office all the time. However, many companies understand that not all of their employees’ work requires being together at the workplace and have begun to embrace part-time telecommuting. With part-time telecommuting, employees can work 1/4 to 1/3 of their work hours from home. Research shows that telework is increasingly common and results in no changes to work performance, but that it is a great way to attract and retain in-demand employees, especially those with family demands.

Obviously, being able to work from home one or two days a week, or the ability to flex one’s hours in order to be home for the kids after school- but making up the work later that night from the computer- makes work-family balance a lot easier to achieve. Be sure to ask about flexible work options at the end of a job interview.

Commuting Length- Commuting takes up two of your most valuable resources- time and money. If you choose an employer an easy 10 minute drive from your home, as opposed to a similar job requiring a short drive and then a 40 minute train ride, you can save up to two hours a day. Mass transit is increasingly expensive, and the price of gas and tolls is always on the rise. Other hidden benefits of a short commute are: reducing the need for before or after-school child care, being more able to run errands or attend to home duties in emergency situations, and producing fewer greenhouse gases. Even if the local job pays less, you’ll make it up in extra time for family and extra convenience.

Employee Experiences- The internet is a wonderful thing for gaining information about a potential employer. Websites such as Glassdoor.com provide anonymous information about employers from current and former employees. On the social media side, Google and Linkedin can be helpful in finding information. Finally, especially for large employers, Fortune, Working Mother, Fast Company and other trade and business magazines often rank and have information about employers with good reputations.

By paying attention to these under-the-radar factors, you will be more likely to apply for, find work at, and enjoy better work-family balance at your new place of work.

This article is sponsored by Western Governors University, a nonprofit, accredited, online university. To find out more about WGU’s online degree programs, please visit www.wgu.edu/wisecareers

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