The Covid-19 pandemic has completely changed our professional perspectives, especially with the rise of remote working. When the pandemic first hit, some parents found it difficult to work from home with their family around – they suddenly had a new role: parent, worker, AND teacher. Others found the need to spend more time with their kids. With the world of work slowly getting back to normal, organisations are now reflecting on finding a way to create a heathy workplace for parents. These organisations see the value of offering family-friendly working culture. Here are some tips.
One of the main issues working parents can meet is the lack of supportive policies in their organisation. Access to childcare is the most striking example as it is a serious budget consideration for families and can lead to a choice being made between affording childcare and keeping a job. As a leader it is essential to understand that family-friendly company policies are crucial. In fact, for an organisation to develop a family-friendly culture, leaders need to role model work-life balance and espouse the importance of time spent with families. Family-friendly policies include health insurance and EAP services which include coverage for families, parental leave benefits, supports for parents returning to the workplace, breastfeeding breaks, childcare assistance, adoptive leave, and care leave. They directly affect your people’s productivity and retention rates, as well as generating a reason for talent to seek out your organisation.
As working parents, it can be hard to find a healthy balance between your working and family time. The working day consumes a. 1/3 of your day, and sometimes more if you are considering the commute or extra hours. To create a healthy workplace for parents, let your people decide how they want to work. Give them the ability to choose different options such as full time or part time remote working, flexible shifts (the ability to do more hours in a day for more free days in the week or adapting their schedule to school hours and kids sports activities etc). Also, it is important to show flexibility and understanding in some tough situations that your people can meet, when kids are sick for example.
Many studies have shown that being a working parent can be stressful and can be considered a second fulltime job! Depending on their situation, parents can face many issues that you wouldn’t be aware of which add to difficulty in managing stress in the workplace and being susceptible to burnout. That is why, as a healthier manager, it is important to show an authentic interest in your people’s mental health and bring all the support they need. Leaders need to demonstrate empathy, be accessible and trusted. Peer support networks for working parents came to the fore during Covid-19, with many organisations offering safe digital spaces where parents could discuss the challenges they were facing. Perhaps most indicative of a family-friendly culture, were examples of experienced parents supporting new parents by offering guidance.
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