Childcare for working mothers has been a pain point for a long time and some women are at a breaking point. Especially with the variables of the pandemic, this particular concern has been upended for many workers and is affecting them in a variety of ways. One of those ways in particular is resulting in a mass of women from the workforce. You can read more about that in our previous blogpost on pandemic pain points and why many women are leaving the workforce.
In this post, we would like to celebrate and applaud the local Utah companies that are paying attention to this pain point for their workers. These companies specifically are helping their workforce to not just survive this pandemic but thrive through it.
Qualtrics is a local company, based in Utah County, striving to help their employees with work/life balance. In a Desert News article, Dave Smith, CEO, mentioned in the process of recruiting talent for their workforce, he often got asked, “How are the schools and what is the environment for families?” That employee feedback, Dave’s own experiences as a father of four, and a built-in urge to disrupt and improve old ways of doing things sparked the idea of Cloud Village, a childcare center for Qualtrics employees.
“We own the building right across from our HQ and it have about 40,000 square feet of space,” Smith said. “We had this idea of ‘What if we turned it into the ultimate day care for working parents at Qualtrics?’ We thought that this could really change their lives and change the lives of their children if we do this right.”
In addition to Qualtrics, Overstock headquartered in Midvale is also offering multiple ways to enhance work/life balance. According to a 2020 article in Utah Business, Overstock has had an onsite childcare facility for several years. However, they recently also added an onsite medical clinic. Meghan Tuohig, Overstock’s Chief People Officer, utilizes the daycare for her own daughter.
“About a year ago, I was in a meeting and I got a call from the daycare, they said ‘you have to come pick up [your daughter] she has a fever and she can’t be here’,” said Tuohig. “It was within a couple of minutes and I was out of my meeting, walked over to the daycare, pulled her out, walked across the hallway to our [onsite medical clinic], and she was getting her ear infection diagnosed and we were walking out of there with an antibiotic. That was an ordeal that would have taken the better half of my day if all those things had been offsite.”
Additionally, Overstock also provides a caregiver travel policy. If an employee travels for work, and has a child under the age of two, Overstock allows an additional round trip ticket so they can bring a caregiver of their choice.
And while Qualtrics and Overstock are both very large corporation, even smaller corporations are getting into the mix of work/life balance. Recursion, a Salt Lake Based tech-enabled biopharma company with several hundred employees, has made childcare a priority for it’s workers.
In an article by Bright Horizons, Recursion Co-Founder Chris Gibson, Ph.D., states he almost didn’t start Recursion when his family was faced with a child care challenge:
“Recursion almost didn’t happen. My wife, a physician, was already on a great career path and when we had our first child we were faced with a serious dilemma; with no child care immediately available to us, we would have adapted our careers in a way that would not have enabled me to take the risk I did in starting Recursion. In a lucky turn of events, we got off a waiting list just in time, but that experience stuck with me as an example of the challenge of being a working parent, while also providing a loving setting for your child’s growth. I knew then that as soon as we could, we would open an onsite child care facility at Recursion to help alleviate this critical challenge for our team.”
At WLI, we celebrate all companies that pave the way for more work/life balance. We know statistically that these changes we have talked about encourage women to not only enter the workforce but be retained and promoted within the workforce. Thank you to those local companies helping their employees in this way!
We will continue to watch this trend and would be interested in hearing your own experiences with this topic, either as an employer or as an employee. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.