alison_edmunds_insideWHO SHE IS: Alison Steinlauf Anziska, Product Manager at Edmunds.com

SUCCESS STORY: Making the most of the family business AND family time

WORK SCHEDULE: Full Time, ROWE

KIDS: 8-year-old boy & three little princesses: 6, 3 and 7 months.

SANITY VICE: My spin workout. It clears my head and energizes me for the day–I’m not the same without it.

The family business calls…

After graduating from Columbia University with a BA in History, I spent a few years working in museum membership and teaching European history at a private high school. Not committed to those fields for the long-term, I was lured by the chance to dedicate my skills to work in the family business.

Alison Steinlauf Anziska and her four children.

Alison Steinlauf Anziska and her four children.

In 2006, I officially joined Edmunds.com, a car shopping website committed to helping people find the car that meets their every need. Originally, Edmunds was a popular car price-listing book sold on newsstands. My father bought the publishing company in the 1980s and brought Edmunds online as the first automotive information website in 1995. Since then, Edmunds has evolved from a small start-up to become the automotive authority, having the largest editorial staff of any automotive publication and providing shoppers and dealers with everything they need to facilitate the car buying process.

Throughout this time the company has been very dedicated to being one of the best places to work and has made work-life balance a priority for its employees.

Edmunds.com goes ROWE for all…

edmunds home pageAt Edmunds we are committed to having an innovative and supportive company culture. In 2012, we implemented Results-Only Work Environment (ROWE) — a work model where employees are focused on goals and given the leeway to achieve those results however they feel they will be most effective. ROWE has given our employees control over when and where they work as long as the work gets done — thereby increasing employee productivity and overall satisfaction. I love how ROWE allows for my work and my life to fit together. It’s been an amazing program that really sets Edmunds apart from the pack.

5 Questions for Alison…

1. How is the program going and what has been the biggest benefit to instituting ROWE?

The program is going well. Of course this working style is particularly amazing for moms, but it is not just limited to parents — after all, everyone has other places they want and need to be during the 9-5 hours. While I don’t have to apologize for leaving the office to drive carpool, my co-worker doesn’t have to explain his mid-day beach bike ride. The field is leveled for employees. I ask for no special treatment — and I get no grief — because I have kids and balance my work schedule around their needs. With ROWE there is no judgment. Everyone in our workplace is treated as a responsible adult and together we focus on results.

2. What’s your favorite working mom time management tip?

As my work and life responsibilities continuously increase, I often think about a game I loved as a kid called Don’t Tip the Waiter where players take turns stacking dishes on the waiter’s tray with a steady hand while trying not to let his tray collapse. In the game, as in life, it’s all about stacking those responsibilities strategically, being super-organized, and asking for help when you need it. That last piece — asking for help when you need it — is something I think a lot of moms forget to do.

3. What’s the media missing about working moms, in your opinion?

The constant media attention given to “having it all” often paints all women with one brush. We all have different lives, different interests and circumstances. I think the media tries too hard to define what a working mom should want in one stage of her life rather than letting us each figure out what trade-offs we are willing to make at what stage and how we want to structure our working lives.

4. What advice do you live by as a working mom?

You do not need to justify having free time. Enjoy some “me-time” guilt-free and you’ll be a better mom. Before having my first child I remember fearing that I’d never have free time again. Now that I know that’s not true, I realize that as a working mom, I just have to be exponentially better at time management. The real challenge is maximizing the time I do have and not feeling guilty about it. My mom peers often try to explain why they deserved a coffee break or got a manicure. No explanation necessary! If you don’t allow yourself to enjoy these moments, you can’t effectively take care of everyone else in your life.

5. I can’t resist. What’s the best car for working moms these days?

Edmunds.com partners with Parents Magazine each year to provide a list that is sure to have something for every family. As for me, I’ve long been avoiding the minivan, which is a uniform of sorts on the carpool line. With the birth of my 4th child this year, I’m afraid that battle might be lost. I’m getting ready to test drive the 2014 Honda Odyssey, and my kids are particularly excited about the new vacuum feature in the back.

Follow Alison: @AlisonAnziska

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