Inside the Company With the Most Amazing Work/Life Balance

Patagonia has 100 percent retention rate of employees who have had children in the past five years. The secret? A healthy work/life balance afforded to all employees.

Patagonia - work life balance
As much as we like to think we can "have it all," the truth is that balancing work and life can be really, really tough. That only intensifies when you become a parent: It's incredibly hard to leave for work every day knowing you may miss your baby's first word or first steps. It's also incredibly hard to leave a stable job knowing you may never be able to return to the workforce if you decide to be a stay-at-home parent—but that's a choice many parents make.

Except for those who work at Patagonia.

The company boasts a 100 percent retention rate among employees who have had babies within the last five years. How do they do this? By meeting new parents halfway. Patagonia has racked up awards for its commitment to providing employees with work/life balance, and new parents stand to gain a lot from their family-friendly policies. Think paid maternity and paternity leave, flexible work arrangements and so much more. 

Patagonia provides child care on site—and it's not the sort of arrangement you might expect from a major corporation. According to Quartz, day care is facilitated by bilingual teachers who work to engage children through education and outdoor play. Parents are encouraged to meet their kids for lunch, and buses bring children of employees to the office at the end of every school day, so parents can take a break and catch up with their kids.

This sort of setup doesn't just help the company hold onto employees, it also has the power to change a whole corporate climate. “We wonder why in corporate America women are absent at these levels,” Patagonia CEO Rose Marcario told Quartz. "But the answer is really not that difficult, or expensive. You have to value caregiving.”

The setup sounds idyllic, and it's a shame that it's so far from the norm. Let's not forget that parents in the United States aren't even legally entitled to paid leave. Let's also not forget that childcare costs are absurdly expensive—so much so that for some parents, leaving a stable job makes more financial sense than seeking out childcare and seeing all your income go towards it. Do you think more companies should adopt at least a few of Patagonia's policies? More importantly, do you feel like your company makes it possible for you to feel like you've achieved an acceptable level of work/family balance?