The Major Silver Lining for Moms from 2020: Flexible Schedules and Work from Home Options


COVID devastated the place of countless women in the workforce. According to the National Women’s Law Center, 2.3 million women left the workforce from February 2020 through January 2021. But for those that were fortunate enough to have the ability to work from home with a flexible schedule, there was a silver lining in the pandemic (once in-person learning resumed, that is). The work from home policies of many companies allowed women to see what life could be like if flexible and work from home schedules were the norm.


a woman commuting home from work at night in traffic


Mom guilt is real, but being able to work from home has lessened that burden. Moms traded their nightly commutes for a family meal and getting the kids to bed on time. As opposed to racing in the door to hurry through dinner and asking, “Do I spend time with him and keep him up past his bedtime, or do I get him to bed on time and sacrifice time with him? Which is worse for him?” They got to be the ones to pick up and or drop off their kids at school, use lunch breaks to get errands done, etc.


A 2019 Forbes survey found that “of moms who opted not to return to work after giving birth, 80% would have stayed with a work-from-home option, and 50% of moms would have stayed with more flexible hours.


In a 2020 Motherly survey, when asked whether society sufficiently supports mothers, the answer was a resounding no. This sentiment has grown in strength every year, from 74% in 2018 to 85% in 2019 to this year’s high of 89%. Of mothers currently working full-time, nearly 60% are hoping to see greater work flexibility, either for themselves or their partner, when the COVID-19 crisis ends.


Working mothers have always had to struggle with balancing the paid labor of being an ideal worker and the unpaid labor of being a good mother and keeping up with household tasks. Then there’s the invisible labor of being the ones to mentally juggle and research everything from child illness to meal planning and all the other life information that needs to be mined to keep a family going these days. While there are plenty of families that share household responsibilities, the distribution is still far from equal.


a woman sitting at a desk in front of her open laptop, pen in hand as her toddler daughter wraps her arms around her mom's neck from behind


Work from home schedules allow both moms and dads to take quick breaks to be productive and tend to the house instead of hanging around the water cooler.


As corporations look to include more women and their perspectives in leadership roles, they are going to have to recognize that you can want to have women at the table all you want, but to actually get them there, you are going to have to give them the resources they need to succeed at balancing work and family life. And the way to get that balance is by continuing with flexible schedules and work from home options.


Many companies that have already researched the outcomes from employees working from home last year are finding that the option to work from home has made their employees happier, healthier, and more productive. This is a benefit not only for the employee but for the employer’s bottom line as well.


These results have already caused a few major companies to get on board, including Facebook, Twitter, Square, Ford Motor Company, and General Motors. General Motors CEO Mary Barra instituted their flexible work schedule last month, allowing employees, as she stated in a Linked In post, “the flexibility to work where they can have the greatest impact on achieving their goals.”


The workplace has evolved significantly in recent years due to technology, and now it is time to use that technology to continue to evolve for the sake of working families and their mental wellbeing.