Supporting Parents in the Workplace

Supporting Parents in the Workplace

 28 Jul 2022

It goes without saying that raising a child, or children, in today's society is a stressful endeavour. The demands of keeping on top of school schedules, home life and progressing in a career can be overwhelming for a parent. As an employer, how can you ensure that parents and carers on your team feel that they are supported?
 
Working parents and carers are facing pressures that other employees, who do not have dependents, won't be - especially at this time of year as we enter the summer holidays and school isn't open for a childcare option. These external pressures may have an impact on their performance within work, but if you can put things in place to support these members of your team, you will ensure retention of working parents and improve their employer experience within the company.
 
So here are some pointers to help you know how best to ensure working parents within your team feel well looked after.
 
Flexibility
Evidence suggests that a working parent will opt for a role that offers flexibility over one that pays higher without. If you are able to allow parents within your team to be flexible with their hours, when and where they work, they will be able to better fit their work responsibilities around their children. Especially at the moment during the school break, allowing parents to work from home during the evenings will mean that they are able to be present for their children for periods during the school holidays and relieve the financial stress of paying for holiday clubs or childminders every day.
 
Autonomy
Where possible, allow parents to move their schedules around to meet their needs. This will mean they can fit their work around school drop-offs and pick-ups if need be while completing their work tasks when best suits them. This way, they will be able to better support their family environment, and what benefits the team members will benefit the team. Reducing the stress of the juggle will make for happier employees who are better able to carry out their tasks.
 
Time Keeping
Giving parents ownership of their time keeping will allow them to balance both their personal and professional obligations. Don't 'guilt' them if their hours aren't quite met, though, so long as they are maintaining a strong delivery of work. Which leads nicely to our next point:
 
Focus On Results
Make sure you focus not on how much time a working parent has been able to put into a project, especially during school holidays or periods when they may have to be working around a poorly child at home, but on the results they have produced. Quality over quantity is the old saying. Make your focus the quality of the work they produce and not the quantity of hours. This will also instil a sense of compassion, empathy and kindness into the organisational culture.
 
Time off for Activities
Parents will require time off to attend any appointments relating to their child's health; that's a given. But equally important to both the child and the parent are events such as school plays, sports days and other occasions. A person's child is the most precious thing in their life; value your employees by valuing their child also.
 
Whether a parent is choosing to work because they are a career-driven person or out of necessity to support their family lifestyle, working parents are valuable members of any team. As an employer, ensuring that these members of the team feel supported and well looked after with the other pressures they face will make for happy employees and set your company apart from others. Employees that feel well looked after will better thrive in the company, leading to higher retention, productivity and performance.
 
 

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