Making your company a friendly space for parents is usually a good idea. Not only for moral reasons, but also for practical ones. Kids are usually the most important part of a parent’s life, so making parenting easier for your employees is a great way to boost their morale, as well as a way to improve your company’s overall retention rate. Even employees who don’t have kids will often feel more positively towards a company that makes sure parents in the staff are getting the support they need.
It’s also worth noting that while some parent-friendly measures are hard to implement, others are relatively easy to put into practice. Here are some of the measures that can make the lives of employees who have kids easier.
1. Offer time flexibility
It can be hard to conciliate the duties of being a parent with a strict 9 to 5 regimen. Parents may need to arrive a little late or leave a little earlier, or they may need a couple of hours to attend a meeting once in a while. And it’s a good idea to make sure management is open to discussing these issues and to making concessions when necessary. Especially when concessions can be made without affecting work performance.
The good news is that managing flexible work arrangements has never been easier. The pandemic was — and continues to be — terrible for people and business all around, but one of the few good things it did was give the world a compelling reason to experiment with flexible work arrangements. That has led to the creation of several online guides, case studies, and software solutions that can help managers offer more flexible work hours for their employees.
Remote working isn’t the best solution for everyone, and many parents would rather be able to work in an office where they know they won’t be interrupted. But for many parents, being able to work remotely full-time or a few days a week can be a godsend, especially if they are able to set their own hours during that remote work period. Consider implementing policies that make it easier for parents to work remotely when possible.
It’s also good to remember that remote work doesn’t have to lead to a reduction in employee participation or productivity. Productivity can be maintained by implementing a hybrid schedule, where the employee spends some days in the office and some days at home. And remote work can be further optimized with the help of software solutions and other remote management tools.
3. Make time off policies easy to navigate
It’s not uncommon for companies to have time off policies in place for employees who need a break to deal with personal issues. And whether that time off is unpaid or paid, the details on how these time off policies work should be made clear, and the process should be easy to navigate.
The last thing someone dealing with a personal crisis needs is having to deal with piles of red tape. It’s also not ideal to make them overshare on personal issues to get the leave they need. Especially since the problem at hand might be time-sensitive, such as dealing with sick children, or having to meet with a child custody lawyer.
4. Encourage open communication
Having to put on a smile and pretend everything is fine when your home is in crisis can be quite emotionally taxing. And while employees should never be forced to share personal issues, it’s a good idea to let them know it’s fine to say something if they need to. Talking isn’t just about sharing information, after all; discussing an issue also offers plenty of mental health benefits.
A policy of open communication is not only good for morale, but it will encourage employees who need time off to take advantage of the company’s time off policies. If the company has a “don’t ask don’t tell” approach to personal issues, employees may feel self-conscious about asking for time off to deal with parental issues, even if they really need it.
And failing to get time off when necessary isn’t just a problem that affects the employee. People who are keeping their mouths shut about personal issues might end up performing less, snapping at co-workers or clients, and depending on how their personal crisis develops, they may even have to skip work with little to no warning. All of these problems are avoided when people who need to deal with personal issues feel comfortable taking advantage of the time off policies.
5. Expand parental leave
The first six months after a baby is born are a crucial period of development, and it is only natural that parents will want to spend as much of that time with their kids as possible. So it’s always a good idea to see if it’s feasible to expand the current parental leave policies to offer benefits beyond those required by law. This applies to both maternity leave and paternity leave.
Money and job security are often the two biggest concerns in a parent’s life when it comes to balancing work and staying at home. So any measures that go towards offering more paid time off or a way for new parents to work from home will do wonders for their quality of life during that period.
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