Nowadays, more people are realizing the value of balancing their work and personal life — especially parents. As the workplace gets increasingly competitive, many employers are readily providing training programs to upskill their employees — but what about programs that address the challenges of raising a family while juggling office responsibilities?
For many businesses, family-friendly policies might not always be a priority. Some believe that implementing such policies might cost too much or negatively affect the business. However, a report from UNICEF suggests quite the opposite. According to their data, family-friendly policies result in healthier children who are more educated, greater chances of gender equality, and sustainable growth.
While organizations might be limited in their capacity to implement family-friendly policies, there are solutions that can make this happen. If you’re an employer who wants to be a family-friendly business, or if you’re an employee who wants to encourage a family-friendly workplace, here are five ways this can be achieved:
1. Increase Parental Leave
Unlike other countries, the U.S. has no national policy in place supporting parental leave. According to a New York Times article, Congress has been considering four weeks of paid and medical leave, which is a lot less than from the 12 weeks that were originally introduced. While this can seem somewhat of an improvement compared to nothing, the number of weeks proposed significantly lags. Globally, the average length of a maternity leave is 29 weeks, while a paternity leave can be as long as 16 weeks.
On the other hand, only 40% of businesses offer some kind of parental leave. For employers to promote a family-friendly workplace, being more assertive in implementing family-friendly policies should be a priority. With more companies taking this initiative, other companies will be more encouraged to follow this example. Meanwhile, employees can be more emboldened to suggest such changes in the workplace.
Increasing the length of paid parental leaves allows parents to bond with their child while being able to support the family’s needs. In helping lift their financial burden, employees can return to work feeling more motivated, thus increasing their focus and productivity.
2. Offer Flexible Schedules
Regardless of size, any company can offer flexible schedules. While this may seem like a simple policy, it is the most impactful among employees who are parents.
One thing that makes childcare demanding is that a child’s needs vary. This is especially true for infants, who are just developing their body clock. What they need and when they need it can disrupt their parents’ work — especially if both are employed. Emergencies can also happen anytime, adding to the anxiety parents feel when they have to miss work to address the situation.
By allowing employees to have flexible schedules, they can balance their time better and take care of both family and workplace responsibilities. With this, their stress can be greatly reduced. This enables them to concentrate on the task at hand, whether it’s caring for their child or finishing something at work. It’s a win-win for both the company and its staff.
3. Telecommuting or Working from Home
If there is any upshot to the recent pandemic, it’s that many people discovered the benefits of a work-from-home setup. Many companies themselves realized that they can save on a lot of expenses if employees telecommute. Aside from the reduced overhead, companies also experienced higher employee productivity and satisfaction rates.
Telecommuting as an option helps support a family-friendly workplace as parents will be able to gain added flexibility. By reducing commute times alone, they can maximize their available hours, devoting them to family and workplace obligations, as well as rest.
4. Provide Parenting Education
As mentioned, many companies tend to focus on training programs that enhance their employees’ workplace proficiency. However, some are also shifting toward improving their staff’s personal wellness and development. Because parenting can be a big part of many employees’ lives, offering classes that teach effective parenting strategies can reduce the stress and anxiety many working parents face. As a result, employees can be happier, thus reducing absenteeism, increasing productivity, and improving their well-being altogether.
5. Offer Childcare Assistance
Companies offering benefits tend to attract some of the most talented employees. This is why many businesses provide benefits and rewards intended to motivate and retain staff. To make your business more family-friendly, including childcare assistance in your benefits program can have a significant impact.
It’s no secret that caring for children can be both expensive and time-consuming. In some cases, a parent may even have to stay home while the other parent’s salary will have to cover for the cost of childcare. As an employer, you can help ease a working parent’s financial burden and anxiety through the following ways:
- Providing benefits that reimburse the cost of childcare
- Allocating some funds covering childcare
- Having an on-site daycare center
Through these simple methods, you can help promote a family-friendly workplace that supports your employees’ productivity and peace of mind.
Less Stress, More Success
Happy employees lead to more successful businesses. With family-friendly policies, companies can improve loyalty, productivity, and satisfaction among their staff. If you want to know how to promote a family-friendly workplace, Jason Kriedman offers the Dad University Parenting Program to companies and parents who want to learn how to make this happen. Apply today for more information about our course, and see how you can contribute to making workplaces more family-friendly!
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