Sunday, May 31, 2015

Family-friendly work policies can run into on-call duties

Clair Cain-Miller has a series on family-friendly culture in the workplace (and parental leave) in the New York Times “Economic View” column, Business "Upshot", p. 4, “The problem with work is overwork: As careers cut into downtime, family-friendly policies can have unintended results”, link here.  The online title is more terse: “The 24/7 work culture’s to on family and gender equality”.  She discusses a Harvard Business School study by Robin Ely.
Does being on-call for production support when you can work from home online really cut into family life?  My own experience was varied, but some of the people who were most dependable when called for production nighttime abends were those with several children.  But there were some who resented the intrusion.  There was a tendency toward the end for single people to deal with more of this.  And because the positions are salaried, overtime isn't paid, although comp-time is often taken. 
One aspect, however, was downsizing.  After a sudden (but expected) layoff at ING at the end of 2001, the remaining staff was given a much larger on-call responsibility; one person was suddenly on-call, as the person who had been on for that week was on the layoff list!  Family responsibility had nothing to do with it!

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