Unless your company only exists in theory, it’s likely that you’ll end up with parents working for you at some point. The older and bigger your company gets, the more that likelihood increases too.
Now, obviously the fact that someone is a parent doesn’t inform how competent they are at their job.
But, unless you start thinking about what they might want from a working environment, it might mean that they start considering whether they should take their skill and expertise to a company that does.
With that in mind, here are some ways you can make life easier for the parents in your company.
Consider moving over to core office hours
Advances in consumer technology, coupled with increased affordability and availability, mean that it’s easier than ever for people to work remotely.
Some companies have taken this potential to its extreme, building entirely remote workforces.
Others, however, still see the value in their staff spending face-to-face time together on a daily basis.
But just because you still want your employees spending time together, doesn’t mean you can’t take advantage of remote working technologies.
Rather than requiring that everyone be in the office for the full working day, have core hours where everyone comes together for meetings and client visits.
Even if it only means not having to fight through traffic twice a day, the parents in your company
will be incredibly grateful for the extra time they get to spend with their kids.
Give new parents a helping hand
While nothing can prepare first-time parents for the arrival of a new child, chances are they’ll appreciate any help they can get.
There’s no reason your company shouldn’t play a part in providing that helping hand.
Depending on the resources available to you, that could range from having a whip-round to buy a present for the new-born, to paying for coaching the way Etsy does.
Don’t just focus on the moms
More and more companies are waking up to the fact that parental leave policies shouldn’t just apply to working moms.
Parenting is a shared responsibility and making fathers return to work just a few days after their child is born can be actively harmful.
On the other hand, fathers who are given extended paternity leave are more likely to play an active role in their children’s lives and be more satisfied with their overall situation.
Giving fathers more paternal leave also results in a more equitable workplace, with women in those companies less likely to fall victim to the wage gap.
Host parenting meet-ups
Parenting can often be a private struggle, with people feeling like they’re the only ones fighting a particular battle.
You can help change that by encouraging the parents in your company to talk to each other. Twitter, for example, hosts parent-to-be roundtables on a quarterly basis.
There’s no reason why your company couldn’t do something similar, not just for expecting parents, but for parents of children of all ages.
Whether it’s knowing where the good schools are or the name of a good babysitter, these meet-ups could also forge bonds between different members of your team, strengthening their ability to work together.
Take a personal interest
Ultimately, however, the best thing you can do for the working parents in your company may not involve sweeping policies, but taking a personal interest in the lives of their children.
If they’re battling with a particular subject, or to pull together enough resources for a sporting tour, see if you can help them out. If they’re celebrating a major milestone in their child’s life, such as a final high school prizegiving or a university graduation, consider giving them the day off without subtracting from their annual leave allocation.
A lot of companies talk about treating their staff like families; it’s this level of detail that can separate those who say it from those who really mean it.