How Businesses Can Support Working Parents
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.
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:
- Flexible scheduling;
- Extended lunch breaks for pick-ups;
- Creating a dedicated breastfeeding room;
- The ability to work from home in the evenings.
These solutions will largely depend on the needs of your employees, as well as the existing family policies in your workplace.
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:
- Increase 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.