CHAPTER 11Making Accommodations for Employees—Do You Have To?

Sally Shoquist was the executive vice president of media strategy at a large global ad agency. She oversaw a department of 60 associates, 90 percent of whom were women. Of the 90 percent who were women, about half were moms with young children. Sally joked, “And I think the rest were pregnant! There was always someone either leaving for maternity leave or returning from maternity leave. We had to juggle workloads constantly.” There are certain industries that tend to have lots of female workers: healthcare, teaching, human resources—and media. It wasn't unusual for Sally to have an almost all‐women department. What she had to learn to manage were the near constant requests from her team for time off, permission to leave the office early to pick up a kid, have a meeting with a teacher, stay home with a sick child. These working moms had a lot to juggle, like most moms do.

At the time, working from home wasn't nearly as common as it is now. Furthermore, ad agencies are in the client service business—they must be responsive to their client needs, no matter how inconvenient those needs may be. Sally's challenge was to try to balance the requests of her employees for being out of the office with running a department that had lots of meetings with clients in the office. In addition to face‐to‐face meetings with clients, there were endless internal meetings as well. To have people constantly absent from these important meetings ...

Get How to Work With and Lead People Not Like You now with O’Reilly online learning.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from 200+ publishers.