Having a full-time job as a parent can be quite exhausting. However, to support your children financially and enable them to have a safe and normal childhood, you need to work. Balancing between the two crucial roles in your life is hard. Whether you are a single parent or you have the help of a significant other, having supportive workplace is essential as well.
Did you know that creating a family-friendly workspace for your employees is a powerful recruiting and retention tool? You have to keep in mind that being a parent is not an obstacle, but a perk for your organisation. How? Well, parents and people with families are more likely to be committed to their job and try harder to retain it. They possess many unique qualities and skills gained from parenthood, which can be useful for your business.
That’s why you should think about creating a family-friendly work environment. Here are 8 tips on how to do so.
1. Offer flexibility
Working fixed hours from 9 to 5 is overrated. We live in a modern world where flexibility and adaptability are necessary for success. Therefore, offering a flexible schedule to your employees is getting one step closer to creating a family-friendly workspace. Would you rather have tired employees or rested employees who leave a bit earlier and finish their work at home?
Many parents find it easier to leave work earlier, pick up their kids from school or daycare, and complete their tasks in the evening or during the weekends. This type of schedule allows them to adapt to both, parental and working roles and be successful in both fields. Why would you stop them there?
Another great way to achieve flexibility is to allow remote work. That’s how parents can stay home with their children and do their work-related tasks promptly. If the type of work you do doesn’t support from-home working, consider letting the parents set their schedules and shifts. So, instead of working from 9 to 5, they can work from 7 to 3, or even 4 hours in the morning, 4 in the afternoon.
2. Provide training
Having a flexible schedule doesn’t mean being treated as a better, or on the other hand, less worthy employee. Employees that are parents still want to be included in the company’s culture and activities. This can be hard especially if they are working from home. That’s why you should consider providing different types of training and workshops to make it easier for them to adapt.
For example, time management tips for effective working are similar, but not quite the same, for those who work from home or the office. Besides that, you mustn’t forget about the communication between the employees. Maybe the dad working from home is the key component in the team or only the mom who left earlier has the copy of the paper you need. Therefore, you need to train your employees to communicate with their colleagues whether they are working from the office or the home. That’s how you’ll create an inclusive atmosphere for everyone.
3. Offer parental leave for both parents
Parents, whether they are biological or adoptive, know that taking care of a child up to a certain age is a fulltime job. Babies and toddlers need complete parental commitment for successful and healthy development. That’s why allowing parents parental leaves to take care of their kids is essential for family-friendly company culture.
Until recently, it was unacceptable for fathers to leave their work and take care of the youngsters. Luckily, times have changed. Today, in most companies and countries worldwide, both mother and father can take paid parental leaves to look after their babies.
Normalizing the role of a dad in parenthood would be much easier if the companies allowed them to take parental or paternal leaves when their child is born or in case the little bundle of joy gets sick. Allow parents some time off to take care of their kids, and they will be grateful to you and your company.
4. Encourage work-family balance
Companies that encourage the balance between work and private life to have more motivated, more satisfied employees, and better retention. Just like you expect your employees to focus on their job while they are at work, you can’t expect them to answer business-related phone calls and emails while they are with their families.
The best you can do is encourage work-life balance. If they have fixed working hours, don’t expect them to do additional work from home. However, boundaries are not as clear when your employees have a flexible schedule. In cases like these, you can make a plan with your employees when they will be available to do their work and when is their free or family time. Don’t cross their boundaries if you want to have committed, hard-working employees.
5. Create a community
Many companies with a lot of employees create extraordinary communities to support parents working for their organization. By offering employee resource groups for parents, you’re not only providing the necessary support but also allowing the parents to be themselves. How can your business create such a community?
Creating a community is easy. Offer conference rooms for meetups, open up group chats on social media, and hang important notices on the message boards. This shows that your company cares about the parents working there and helps connect parents. Taking care of kids in such communities is much more comfortable.
For example, some parents drive kids to school, while others pick them up. Lunches and snacks can be organized similarly. It’s all up to the parents and the way they communicate with each other.
6. Children daycare at work
Every parent knows that kids under a certain age can’t stay at home alone. Daycares and kindergartens are pricey for many. Even though you can always hire a nanny to babysit your kids, leaving your babies with strangers is petrifying for many parents. That’s why family-friendly workspaces are crucial.
You can create a separate daycare space within the work premises, where parents can drop off their youngsters and head to work knowing that their children are safe. Kids require a safe space where they can run and play during the day. Therefore, besides providing a sitter, you need to childproof the space. So, make sure to have a quiet space where they can play.
There is nothing better than feeling the grass beneath your feet. So, consider getting natural-looking artificial grass for your daycare area. It’s safe for kids and doesn’t require complicated maintenance. You can place it where ever you like, and the best part of it is that children will love it!
7. Allow kids at work from time to time
Even though you can organize daycare for younger children, make sure that pupils are covered too. Every one in a while, kids won’t be able to go to school due to the public holidays, snow days, or receptions. However, kids over the age of 7 still can’t stay home alone the entire day.
It’s clear as day that parents have to work even though their children are out of school. If taking them to the grandparents or hiring a nanny isn’t an option, work should allow kids to stay there and wait for their parents to finish their tasks.
So, for instance, your company can hire a tutor to help the kids with their homework and keep them entertained while they are waiting for the parents to get out of work. Older, well-behaved children might not need a sitter or a tutor, just a quiet, empty office to do the homework.
As you can see, your company can support families and parents in many ways. Creating a safe environment for kids and parents makes it easier for your employees to work and stay focused on their tasks undisturbedly. The effort you make will indeed be recognized and praised amongst the parents. So, try your hardest to support your employees, and they will reward you with their hard work.