Being a parent is a full-time job, and the most important and rewarding role most people will have in their lives. However, despite its many benefits, most parents cannot afford to become stay at home parents throughout their child’s life.
As a business, it is possible to help qualified, experienced and educated parents to return to work and still have the ability to parent their children. Creating a parent-friendly workplace and culture within a company is the first step in developing an environment and climate where parents feel supported and valued for their roles as professionals but also as caregivers for their children.
There are several ways that a business owner or a management team can modify or change the business to be more accommodating for parents returning to work. This is not just a good option for existing employees; it can also be a powerful tool for recruiting the highest calibre of candidates for new positions in the company.
Becoming a family-friendly or parent-friendly workplace needs to start from the top down. It cannot start at the supervisor or even department manager level to be effective. It will also need to be codified into employee policies and become a part of the information provided to potential employees regarding company policies.
To get started on changing the company or business brand to a parent-friendly place to work, here are a few strategies to consider:
• Create discussion opportunities – upper management should schedule and plan for meeting and discussions with management teams, parents, employees and with Career-Mums. As a consultancy service, we can work with your business to hold these discussions, gather information and assist in implementing a customised plan to meet the needs of your business and your employees.
• Flexible leave time – one of the least predictable issues of parenting is managing work with illness or issues with children. Developing options for parents to be able to care for children who are sick or need to attend appointments is an ideal way to make your workplace more positive for parents. Allowing notification by email or text to supervisors with short notice for specific child-related emergencies will respect the parenting role while also providing managers and supervisors with the information they need to operate the business. Ability to work from home or to work only a partial day may create a win-win solution for both the parent as well as the employer.
• Compressed hours – in addition to flexible leave, providing parents the option to work longer per day and have a flex day throughout the week can be extremely valuable. This also provides managers with scheduling benefits, ensuring full staffing while still providing one extra day a week for the parent.
• Return to work support – parents returning to the workplace may feel uncertain and unfamiliar with new technology, protocols or job requirements. Working with Career-Mums and taking advantage of our returning parent coaching and support service as well as our support for managers will provide a smooth transition for everyone.
Creating a parent-friendly workplace starts at the top. The results of these changes will allow the business to retain qualified, experienced staff and develop a workplace culture where Mums and Dads feel appreciated as both professionals as well as parents.