For working parents, balancing the demands of looking after their children and doing their jobs can sometimes seem overwhelming. That’s even more true in an age when technology means that work can follow you home and demand your attention at all hours.
Knowing this, companies who really care about their employees should consider how they can make it easier for working parents to do their jobs knowing that everything’s okay with their kids.
While not every company can afford in-house day-care centres or to sponsor after school programmes, there are a few simple gestures businesses of any size can commit to that make a world of difference to working parents.
Make sure everyone takes leave
With companies around the globe trying to keep their operations as lean as possible and competition in the workplace fiercer than ever, it can be difficult for employees to feel safe taking leave.
It’s something that can be especially prevalent in companies with unlimited leave, a supposed benefit.
One way to mitigate these fears is to simply make it company policy that everyone take the leave owed to them.
If you find that you have a growing number of parents in your company, ensure that you plan properly for school holidays when they’re more likely to want to take leave.
Shut down after-hours email
No matter how important you think the work your company is doing, chances are it doesn’t actually require everyone to be contactable 24 hours a day.
Whether you use policy or technology to enforce it, shutting down after hours emails is good policy in general (your employees will be well rested).
It‘s particularly important, however for working parents. Not being able to receive emails after hours means that story time is unlikely to be interrupted because of an “urgent” query (in all likelihood, something that the sender could easily ask in person the next day).
Most contemporary workplaces have realised that there are serious advantages to be had by pushing collaboration across the organisation.
The transfer of knowledge across different departments can seriously bolster innovation and creativity.
It makes sense then to encourage similar kinds of collaboration between the parents within your company.
Even something as simple as setting up a WhatsApp or Slack group can make them feel less like they’re on their own and that they have knowledge resources at their disposal.
Book same-day flights whenever possible
When you’re young and unattached, the idea of working in a different city can seem appealing. If it’s somewhere you haven’t been before, it’s a chance to experience new things and maybe even take in a few sights after hours.
But for working parents, especially those with young children, it’s time they’d rather spend with their families.
Companies should be aware of this. If they need to send a working parent to a different city, they should try ensure that all the meetings for the trip can be completed in a single day so as to minimise disruption to family time.
Make company expertise easily available
As your employees’ children get older, they’re going to need help getting their own careers started.
That starts with figuring out what they actually want to do. Here especially, your company can be of assistance to the parents in your employ.
Let them know that your company is open to job shadowing opportunities. You can even take things a step further. Let’s say an employee’s child is interested in a field that your business doesn’t operate in. Maybe, however, someone in your business network does. See what you can do to connect that child with that connection.
Not only are you helping out an employee, you could be introducing that business connection to their next top-performing employee.
Are you a working parent? What simple gestures have made your life easier in the past? Let us know in the comments section below.