How Inkling Has Created a Work Environment Fit for Families

My husband and I don’t set the alarm clock; we gave birth to one. Every morning around six o’clock, a small voice calls out from the downstairs bedroom. “Mama!”

Being a parent with a full time (and fully engaging) job is at once a joy and a dilemma. It’s the crux of the “having it all” debates, and part of the ongoing public and private discussions about what it means to be present for yourself, for colleagues, and for family (all at the same time, without breaking a sweat, while feeding everyone organic everything, and advancing through the corporate ranks at lightning speed).

Family-Friendly Benefits

Recently, the Facebooks and Googles of the world have been making headlines with benefits that address this issue for employees. It’s wonderful to see them leading the industry, but we’ve found that you don’t have to be Google-sized to help employees with families flourish in the hard-charging world of Silicon Valley.

At Inkling, where I’m Senior Director of People and Culture, we know it’s eminently possible to be a great colleague and a great parent, and there are things that we do as a company to facilitate the balancing act. I’ve been at Inkling since the earliest days, when nearly all employees were in their twenties, and a couple of us “older” folk (myself and the CEO included) had just cracked 30. Few among us were parents back then, but from the start, we wanted to create a company that would be welcoming to moms and dads.Inkling-FamiliesInkblots & their kids

By big-company standards, of course, none of what we’re doing is earthshaking. In fact, it sounds pretty obvious: flexible scheduling, fully paid maternity and paternity leaves, and a dedicated mommy room for pumping breast milk. A less obvious benefit we’re now adding is insurance assistance for infertility treatment, a painfully expensive undertaking that we hope to help our employees navigate financially.

Putting The Time In At Work And At Home

With respect to flexible scheduling, Inkling already has a policy of unlimited paid time off for everyone, not just moms and dads. For parents, however, this is especially useful, since calculating your PTO or sick days can be a hassle when a visit to the pediatrician isn’t optional. A flexible schedule is the right thing to do for all Inkblots. In return, we’ve been handsomely rewarded by employees who are 150% dedicated and give their all. They just do it on terms that work for their lives here and at home.

It’s not that we don’t work hard, long hours every day. We do. But unlike at many startups where you have to put in late night face time to “prove” how hard you’re working, I’m on the way home at five o’clock to make it home for dinner, bath and bedtime. I just come back online after the last story is read to take care of whatever’s still on my plate. If I didn’t love what I do, that kind of pace would probably make me leap out a window, but the truth is, I am fulfilled by the relationships I have at Inkling and the problems I get to solve every day. I’m a better mom and a better partner to my husband because I am engaged with what I do professionally, and I couldn’t see it working for me any other way.

With respect to paid leave, we benchmark against peer companies and target a more generous offering. Maternity benefits include 12 weeks paid at 100% of salary, and often the possibility of a day working from home for a while upon return; paternity benefits allow new dads four weeks of paid leave, plus an additional two weeks of working from home. Daddies love their kids, too.

When new parents return to work, we do whatever we can to help with the transition: employees have their first and second-line managers as well as the whole People & Culture team to lend a hand with ramping back up on work-related items. New moms get their key to the pumping room (complete with comfy chairs and a mini-fridge), new dads get pestered all the time for the latest pictures of their progeny, and both moms and dads get a little “welcome” basket of treats for the new arrival.

We know we’re not reinventing parenthood in the workplace, but at every turn, we want Inkling parents to know they are seen, welcomed, and supported. That’s the kind of place we’re building at Inkling, and it’s where I’m proud to work.

To learn more about working at Inkling, visit our careers page.