A diverse group of SIOP members are serving as Trend Champions for the people-related work trends that SIOP members collaboratively predicted to be the most impactful in 2021. Each Trend Champion has expertise in and professional passion for their trend subject. SIOP appreciates their service to the profession in providing quarterly updates on their chosen topics.
Find the full list of topics and links to the other Top 10 Work Trends here.
As leaders and their team members figure out life in an ongoing pandemic world, women continue to be disproportionately impacted. There are signs women are setting new boundaries at work, but many worry it will be a liability to their career advancement. Childcare availability and affordability remain critical issues. On the policy front, the US Treasury published The Economics of Child Care Supply in the United States (September 2021), calling the current childcare system broken and “unworkable.” Janet Yellen and Kamala Harris recently held a joint press event to highlight the urgency of these issues. We’re currently following the American Family Plan in Congress, which, if passed, could help working families pay for childcare and preschool expenses.
On the research front, Kossek Perrigino and Rock (2021) reviewed fifty years of integrating careers (vocational psychology) and work/family (I/O Psychology and Org Behavior) research and suggested a framework for research to advance this interdisciplinary field. Shockley et al. (August 2021) found using a camera during virtual meetings can be fatiguing and suggest giving team members an option to turn off their cameras. Calderman and Gabriel (August 2021) added evidence-based support for the value of physical activity before the end-of-the-workday leading to more vigor and enhanced daily satisfaction with work/life balance. So, maybe you can reduce “Zoom fatigue” by turning off the camera a bit more and get your heart pumping before you transition to your non-work life.
If you are looking for best practices, check out Fortunes’ 2021 Best Places for Women list. (The “Best Place for Parents” list gets updated in December 2021.) If your organization is implementing innovative practices on work/life integration in the workplace, I’d love to hear from you at email@example.com.
Work/life integration conversations continue in the media, around kitchen tables, within organizations, and at the highest levels of government. Dubbed the “She-cession,” women bore the brunt of the pandemic induced child care crisis. Two million women dropped out of the workforce at four times the rate as men. It was even worse for women of color. The lingering, long-term financial impact on these women is estimated to be $600,000 to $1M depending on her job level. There are also worries over our loss of women in the sciences. On the bright side, the proposed American Families Plan could be a game changer if subsidized universal child care, guaranteed paid family and medical leave, and expanded child tax credits make it through to legislation.
Big shoutout to Drake Van Egdom at the University of Houston for his help compiling additional research, including Little and Masterson’s on the re-entry of new mothers coming back from maternity leave, highlighting the importance of this significant life transition. They argue organizations should proactively assist parents during this stressful family period. Ensuring your policies and practices support lactation is one strategy to help new mothers, as a recent review of the lactation literature points out.
On the leadership front, Lanaj and Chawla found that when people strongly identify with their role as a leader, they both benefit and suffer from their self-sacrificial behavior. The upside is increased performance and perceived prosocial impact, while the downside is more conflict at home. McClean, Courtright, and Dunford demonstrated leaders with positive daily family support are likely to show up as transformational leaders at work. So net, a healthy home life leads to more positive leadership behaviors at work.
And finally, a team of German researchers found mindfulness training had positive effects on satisfaction with work-life balance, enhanced detachment from work, and decreased psychological conflict.
Let's face it; we've all been living subjects in our own work-life integration studies over the past year of the pandemic. So, it's not surprising the voluminous amount of coverage this subject has garnered in the popular press in Q1, including work by Stew Friedman and Alyssa Westring on Navigating Pandemic Fatigue As a Working Parent, Work-Life Balance Is a Cycle, Not an Achievement by Ioana Lupu and Mayra Luis-Castro, and Brian Robinson’s piece on Why ‘Work-Life Balance’ Has Become A Career Dinosaur.
There's also no shortage of opinions on what we call this phenomenon. Wendy Casper and colleagues call it Work-Nonwork Balance; others call it Work-Life Integration (an attempt to acknowledge and blend different life domains). Still, others argue we should abandon the former labels and call it Work-Life Negotiation. With this Workplace Trend, I plan to cast a wide net and include all the above, emphasizing empirical research. Whatever we call it, we know it matters for us personally, as leaders, and as scholars trying to provide understanding and guidance. We also know it predicts crucial workplace outcomes such as job satisfaction, turnover, and performance.
So on to noteworthy research in Q1…
A team of I-O psychologists led by Kristen Shockley seized the day early in the pandemic, surveying dual-earner couples with young children to determine how their childcare strategies shifted when suddenly work and childcare were upended. While 37% of families relied more on women for all or some of the childcare, many couples (45%) chose more equalitarian strategies such as alternating days of work or flexing each day to the work demands of either the wife or the husband. Researchers followed up weeks later to see how the couples' strategies impacted family cohesion, marital tension, health, and job performance. Women who worked remotely and were responsible for ALL the childcare and their husbands fared the worst with the lowest family cohesion scores, highest relationship tension, and lowest job performance ratings. The alternating days strategy resulted in the highest sleep scores for both wives and husbands and lower psychological stress. So net, more empirical support for giving more support for working mothers! Can I get a hardy ‘Amen!”
At the SIOP Conference in April, we'll have at least 34 opportunities to learn more about how this critical topic is evolving. If your focus is Work-Life Balance or Integration as a practitioner or a researcher, I'd love to talk.
Champion: Angie McDermott, PhD
Angie McDermott has coached hundreds of executives, served as an HR Leader for companies ranging from young, fast-growing organizations to Fortune 50 firms, and is a professor at the University of Texas in the McCombs School of Business. Working with companies including Procter & Gamble and Dell, she played key roles in building scalable, global people systems, including employment testing and worldwide engagement surveys, and strategic research. While raising her children, she ran her own firm focused on executive coaching and team development. Returning to corporate work, she has led HR departments for technology firms through growth from IPO to mergers and acquisitions. With specific focus on women and people of color, Angie helps leaders accelerate their own development and their ability to develop others.
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