There are over 15 million solo parents in the Philippines. 14 million, or over 95% of that quantity, are women. In total, single parents make up 13% of today’s Philippine population.
(World Health Organization, 2023)
Astounding numbers, right? Yet they pose even greater challenges.
Most, if not all, are fighting stigmas and simultaneously carrying the weight of multiple burdens on a day-to-day basis. These range from financial hardship, achieving work-life balance, emotional distress, idle growth, and more than an ordinary person can imagine.
When thought of deeply, these are concerns that can either be aggravated or mitigated in the workplace. For Paola Osumo, it was neither — she conquered these challenges with the care of her organization.
We delve deep into how building communities and relationships at work matters and how those help you along the way — whether you’re a single person or a solo parent. Here, we talk about how great workplaces like Asurion ensure that work is never a barrier to anyone’s single parenting journey, but rather a safe space and an ally who’s got their back.
This is the story of a thriving mother — and her name is Paola.
A Balancing Act
Today’s workplaces are inevitably becoming increasingly complex with more and more folks with different strokes comprising workforces. And along with this diversity naturally comes more people with unique sets of needs.
Single motherhood is indubitably no easy feat and comes with distinctive complexities of its own. One that was highlighted in our interview with Paola is how she strikes a balance between rearing her 2 children (an 11 and 16-year-old) and her budding career as a Senior Manager. This is a fair question considering that both roles, while one is not more important than the other, present big responsibilities.
That specific query somewhat connotes a dichotomy between work and personal life. And while that’s true to a certain degree, it’s important to note that both require Paola’s presence and positive well-being for both roles to be successfully fulfilled.
This brings us to one of our major and enlightening discoveries about solo motherhood during our conversation with Paola — refraining from neglecting one’s well-being and personal growth. Below, you’ll find that her answers do exactly that.
Q: How do you balance motherhood and career?
P: “I make sure that I spend time with the kids whenever I’m not at work. I try to maintain balanced work hours, and when I can’t, I check on the kids when I can.”
Q: Can you share at least 2 challenges that you’ve encountered in the workplace?
P: “[One was] managing my time between taking care of my program and focusing on my development as a leader. It made me feel caught up between so many things to do.”
Q: Please describe a typical day for you. (Routines, habits, or special rituals you’d like to share)
P: “I start the day with coffee, read one page from ‘The Daily Stoic,’ then play music as I prep for my workday.”
Note: Q = Question, P = Paola
Stop, Look, and Listen
Paola has determination, self-will, and a keen sense of volition. What else does Paola have that’s driving her to thrive while raising 2 children alone and herding over 200+ employees in the day-to-day operations of her program? A high-trust workplace culture.
How does Asurion support Paola to ensure that the environment motivates her to perform well? As she explains, “We have regular check-ins with our 1 up where I can share anything, [from] business updates [to] help needed, and very supportive leadership that allows me to have balanced time between work and family. Our Senior Director makes time to check in on how I am doing with work and life every week. Also, ‘monthly touchbase’ and focused group discussions are conducted.”
Under career planning and support, “We have regular career development discussions and courses I can take to support my career aspirations.”
The main denominator in all that’s been said is this: consistent and earnest communication. The advice of Paola’s manager, Trevor Williams, hits the nail on the head, “Ask them! Sometimes just simply asking how you can help them is important, and then listening.”
Sincere intent truly creates this beautiful loop: leaders can genuinely listen because they care, they understand since listening is their priority, and they can take action in a timely and correct manner due to their deep comprehension of the root problem.
It goes without saying that authentic leadership and genuine communication are sine qua non for employees to have their unique needs met.
Humanity in Action
How Asurion was described in the previous section is the quintessence of a psychologically safe workplace — spaces where management treats employees like human beings who have emotions and lead actual lives outside of work.
Trevor’s response to how they support Paola’s situation as a single mom and breadwinner reflects a practice of the above. “I am flexible in understanding that not all work is completed during normal working hours, and as long as the work is completed in the time needed — that works for me. Paola has a strong work ethic. So when she requests for PTO, I honor it.”
Even their sound advice for managers who lead single moms in their team spells h-u-m-a-n, “Be flexible and adjust schedules to help accommodate — sometimes moving a start time by just one hour can make all the difference.”
Echoing Trevor’s words of wisdom, treating people with sincerity goes a long way when you’re in a position of leadership, as observed with Paola: who’s thriving in the workplace through authentic relationships with colleagues. This is possible because of leaders who walk the talk when it comes to practicing aruga (care in Tagalog), open the floor to collaboration, and model inclusivity in the workplace.
“Paola is a happy employee. She always has a smile on her face and a hug for her peers. She is data-oriented and relies heavily on her relationship with people to make the job easier.”
Paola was indeed proud when she said, “In a nutshell, Asurion has a great support system through their leaders, colleagues, and resources.”
What a simple yet daunting task: That to meet the complex and unique needs of an employee, it starts with being human — to care enough to ask, actively listen, be present, and holistically accept who they are inside and outside of work.
And for Asurion, that kind of humanity is the key to a great workplace culture.
Asurion is a Great Place To Work-Certified™ company! Click here to view their Certification Profile.