According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, at least one parent was employed in 78% of families in 2020. This makes up a huge demographic of the working population. So it only makes sense that businesses work to support the parents they employ. Family support in the workplace has been proven to increase job satisfaction among employees, and decrease sick leave. This has positive effects on productivity and efficiency, as well as performance.
Integrating family support for working parents at your business is beneficial to workflow and employee mental health. This support can be low to no cost but can reap high-value rewards for your business.
In this article, we will discuss a few of the main ways to support employees with children and elaborate on them in further detail.
We will also go through how to create a high-quality and fair family care policy for firms, and discuss some benefits of supporting your employees with children.
Let’s get started!
Method 1: Collaborate on Solutions
Parenting is not one-size-fits-all, and neither is being a working parent. Collaborating with your employees to find solutions for their childcare problems is a smart way to support the working parents at your business.
For example, collaborating on a schedule that best suits their needs can be a great no-cost solution. Allowing your employees to start working later in the day can give them the flexibility to drop off their children at school or daycare. This is an easy, no-cost solution that can be a big help for parents. Other solutions may include:
Many businesses are now offering flexible scheduling to their employees, which means that employees can now choose when to start and end their workday.
This can be a big help for parents, as it allows them to better coordinate their childcare needs with their work schedule. For parents who are drop-off/pick-up parents, flexible scheduling can be a lifesaver.
Extended lunch breaks for pick-ups
If your business is unable to offer flexible scheduling, another solution is to extend lunch breaks for employees who need to pick up their children from school or daycare.
This can be done on a case-by-case basis, or it can be set as a regular policy. Either way, this is a great way to support working parents who may not have the ability to adjust their work schedule.
Creating a dedicated breastfeeding room
Breastfeeding mothers often face challenges when it comes to pumping at work. Creating a dedicated, private space for them to pump can be a big help.
This doesn’t have to be a separate room; even a small, private space can make a world of difference for a breastfeeding mother.
The ability to work from home in the evenings
For parents who need to be home in the evenings to care for their children, being able to work from home can be a big help. This solution may not work for every job, but it’s worth considering if it’s an option.
These solutions will largely depend on the needs of your employees, as well as the existing family policies in your workplace.
Method 2: Offer Remote Work Opportunities
As mentioned above, remote work is one of the ways that businesses can support working parents. It’s projected that by 2025, 22% of the entire American workforce will be working remotely. There are a lot of benefits to remote work, with the ability to provide at-home child care being one of them.
For working parents with new babies, or who have children at home during summer vacation, remote work is a great solution. The flexible hours that can come with remote work are also valuable to working parents. This allows parents to work while their child sleeps. In the case of a family emergency, such as a sick child, parents who work remotely can also respond easier and quicker, without having to sacrifice an entire day of working hours.
Remote work has proven benefits for employers too, including:
- Increased productivity;
- Reduced overhead costs;
- Increased employee engagement;
- Increased training retention;
- Increased employee performance.
Not all companies can offer remote work opportunities, but if your company can, you may consider it as a way to benefit your business and your employees.
Method 3: Promote Work-Life Balance
Proper work-life balance is crucial for maintaining your mental health. Employers who prioritize work-life balance at their business can see the following benefits:
- Increased productivity;
- Less absenteeism;
- Increased employee engagement;
- Increased employee satisfaction;
- Increased employee loyalty.
Encouraging work-life balance as an employer also communicates to your employees that you value them, which can bolster an atmosphere of employee trust.
The best way to promote work-life balance is to lead by example. Don’t expect employees to be available for work correspondence outside of working hours, and try to limit your correspondence during off-hours. You can also encourage people to use their paid time off to create an environment of healthy work-life balance. This can be especially impactful for remote employees, who may need more defined boundaries between “work” and “home” life.
Method 4: Help Connect Employees to Childcare Resources
Childcare is a huge part of the working parent experience. Offering resources to help employees connect to childcare can reinforce feelings that the company values their employees, which comes with a host of benefits.
This can be as simple as having a list of nearby childcare centers and their contact information for working parents. Or, you can go as big as offering a childcare stipend with your benefits package. The resources you offer come down to your priorities and abilities as a business owner. For example, it may make more sense for a daycare to offer their employees free childcare than a restaurant.
Acknowledging and catering to the childcare needs of working parents can improve your employees’ mental health and job satisfaction. It can also reduce the need for working parents to call out, which has additional productivity benefits.
Method 5: Integrate Family Care Into Your Policies
Many business owners may support their working parent employees, but don’t have any formal policies for family care. Creating family care policies signals to prospective employees that your business is family-friendly, which is a priority for some candidates. It also gives current employees a benchmarker for how the company treats family care as a whole, instead of having to rely on case-by-case rulings from managers.
Additionally, creating family care policies allows you to define how your specific business deals with the intersection of work and family, as well as do things like allocating a budget if you so choose.
Method 6: Creating Inclusive Family Care Policies
When you’re creating a family care policy, being mindful and inclusive of all kinds of families and parents is important. For example, there is a push to reform maternity and paternity leave into parental leave. By doing this, companies can eliminate the discrepancies between paternity and maternity leave that may exist in their current policies. Parental leave also accounts for different kinds of families, such as families who may have same-sex or nonbinary parents.
Supporting your employees with children not only benefits your employees’ mental health but can positively affect your business’s output and reputation. You can get started by reviewing your current family care policies and working with the parents in your office to make meaningful changes.
How To Create A Good Family Care Policy
Family care policies can help your firm stand out in the marketplace as well as ensure your employees with children are well-taken care of.
Formalising family care and embedding it into your workplace culture will also show your employees that you value them and their families. Here are some tips on how to create a good family care policy:
1. Define what types of family care are covered under the policy
This can include anything from childcare to eldercare. By being extremely specific with what is and is not covered, there will be no confusion later on.
2. Set clear guidelines as to how much time off can be taken for family care purposes
This ensures that employees do not abuse the system and that they understand the expectations of the company. For example, implement guidelines in your firm’s policy documents offering a certain number of days or hours per week that can be used for family care.
3. Make sure your policy is in compliance with all relevant laws
This includes things like the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) in the United States. You don’t want to get into any legal trouble because you did not do your research!
Imagine a situation where an employee’s child gets sick and they need to take time off work but your policy does not allow for it. Not only would the employee be upset, but you could also face some serious legal repercussions.
4. Be generous with your policy if you can afford it
This will show your employees that you truly care about their families and want to help them in any way possible. For example, it might be a good idea to consider offering on-site childcare or subsidies for eldercare.
5. Communicate the policy to all employees, both new and old
It is crucial that everyone is on the same page and knows what the company’s stance is on family care. To keep everyone up-to-date with the latest developments in your family care policies, think about holding informational meetings or sending out a company-wide email about the policy.
By following these tips, you can create a quality family care policy that will benefit both your company and your employees.
What Are The Benefits Of Supporting Your Employees With Children?
When you have employees with children, it can be difficult to find ways to support them while also ensuring that their work is not affected. However, there are several benefits to supporting your employees with children, as discussed below:
One benefit is that it can improve employee morale. When you show your employees that you are willing to support them in their personal lives, they will feel appreciated and valued.
This can lead to increased motivation and productivity in the workplace. If they know that their children are being well taken care of and are recognised by their employers, they are more likely to feel happy and content in their work.
Reduced employee turnover
Another benefit is that it can help to retain employees. If you offer support to employees with children, they are more likely to stay with your company for the long term.
This is because they will feel like they have a good work-life balance and will not want to leave an organisation that supports them in this way. This reduced employee turnover rate can save you money in the long run, as you will not have to keep recruiting and training new employees.
As has been the case in the modern age, hiring employees can be very difficult and time-consuming, as well as being an expensive task to undertake.
Take the smaller hit of supporting your existing employees with children adequately, rather than taking the much larger hit if these employees leave and you have to spend a lot more money hiring new workers.
An improved reputation
A final benefit of supporting employees with children is that it can improve your company’s reputation. When you are seen to be supporting families, this can make your company look more attractive to potential employees and customers.
It shows that you are an organisation that cares about its people and their families, and one that anyone with a family would be happy to work for.
This can prove attractive not only to prospective employees, but to customers as well, who may want to do business with a company that they perceive to be family-friendly.
There are many benefits to supporting your employees with children. By doing so, you can improve employee morale, reduce employee turnover, and improve your company’s reputation.
All of these things can lead to a more successful and sustainable business in the long run.
Are Working Parents Good For Business?
You may be reading this and thinking, this all sounds very difficult. Why don’t companies just hire employees without children?
That’s because the benefits of having working parents are numerous – here are 5 of them to help you realise the value of having employees who are also parents:
1. They’re productive
Working parents are used to balancing their time and priorities, so they’re typically more organised and efficient with their time at work. This means they can get more done in less time, and don’t need as much supervision.
2. They’re loyal
Parents who work are often very loyal to their employer, because they understand how difficult it is to find quality childcare and good job prospects. Once they’ve found a good employer, they’re likely to stick around for the long haul.
3. They have a better work/life balance
Working parents are often more balanced than employees without children, because they have to juggle their time between work and family. This means they’re less likely to burn out from working too much, and more likely to be able to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
4. They’re flexible
Parents who work often have to be more flexible with their time, since they have to juggle childcare and work commitments. This means they’re more likely to be able to work around other people’s schedules, and be flexible with their own schedule as well.
5. They’re mature
Parents who work are typically mature, since they’ve had to deal with real-life responsibilities from a young age. This maturity can be an asset in the workplace, as they’re more likely to be able to handle difficult situations and think before they act.
Judging from the points mentioned above, it seems that the benefits of supporting employees with children far exceeds the cost of doing so.
Businesses should therefore consider supporting working parents in order to reap the benefits of having them as employees.
What Not To Do When Supporting Employees With Children
When it comes to supporting employees with children, businesses need to tread carefully.
On the one hand, they want to be seen as family-friendly and supportive of workers who have young children. On the other hand, they don’t want to be accused of discrimination or favoritism.
Here’s what not to do for businesses that want to support working parents:
Don’t discriminate against employees who don’t have children
It’s important to remember that not all employees have children. Some may not want them, while others may be unable to have them. Whatever the reason, it’s important not to discriminate against these employees.
Don’t require employees to use their vacation days for child-related activities
While you may think it’s reasonable to require employees to use their vacation days for child-related activities, such as childcare or doctor’s appointments, it can actually be discriminatory. If you have this policy in place, consider revising it.
Don’t penalize employees who need to take time off for family emergencies
Life happens, and sometimes employees need to take time off for family emergencies, such as a sick child or an elderly parent. Don’t penalize these employees by docking their pay or giving them a negative performance review.
Don’t forget about the fathers
When it comes to supporting working parents, businesses often focus on mothers. However, it’s important to remember that fathers also play a vital role in their children’s lives. Make sure you’re not forgetting about the dads when you’re crafting policies and benefits.
Hopefully you now have a better understanding of how employees with children can benefit your firm and understand the advantages of having them around.
Use some of the methods up to help support these employees that little bit more, and make sure that your firm is a happy and healthy place to work – for everyone!