A few weeks ago there was a Wall Street Journal article and Jack Welch went on record saying there is no such thing as a work life balance and the jist of the article was most women have to make a choice between taking care of family priorities and rising in the corporate ladder. Much as I respect Mr Welch, I do think he took a very traditional point of view and while this might have been true 20 years ago, I find more and more evidence of the quite the opposite being true. Here are 4 reasons why I believe Mr Welch might not be entirely accurate in his disposition
1) Sheer Numbers: In my immediate organization, 6 of the 9 senior leadership are women. Outside of that, there are enough and more examples of women across the organization who are at executive levels. Also, knowing some of them personally, I know what great moms and wives they are. Its really the attitude and the openness of the organization to let people make choices which help them strike that 'work life balance'
2) Virtualization of Work: In this virtual world where more and more people are working from home, working non traditional hours is the norm and the 9:00-5:00 paradigm is pretty much gone. So people work when they want to, when they can. So if that means plenty of moms around the world are writing their MRD's, data sheets and product roadmaps at 9:30 PM when little Neal or Matt or Ishaan or Rhea are bed- so be it. So they are great moms when they are with the kids and work finds a way to get done in times outside of that
3) Inclusion and Diversity Best Practices: There is a greater recognition in organizations to drive practices that are employee friendly and that create an environment of inclusion and diversity. Again, to attract a diverse workforce and to retain it, management and organizations are very clearly making room to accommodate people to be able to balance family life and work life
4) Technology over Travel: Use of technology solutions like TelePresence and other forms of videoconferencing, virtual seminars and conferences are reducing the need for executives to be on a plane and living out of a suitcase- which was a norm a few years ago. That translates to families spending more time with each other. The reduction in travel is also a response to a company wanting to enhance their "green' footprint as well as reduce expenses.