Small Steps with Big Outcomes — Supporting Parents in the Workplace

Companies should implement policies to support parents at work, ensuring both parties are happy and ultimately gaining from the perspective that parents can bring.

Whether the parents on your team are employed because they are driven entrepreneurs or are compelled to do so to pay the bills, you should know that managing a child and a career is difficult.

To lessen the stress and financial burdens on working parents, many organizations have adopted a parent-friendly environment.

There are numerous small ways for companies to care for employees with children in addition to major actions like establishing a breastfeeding area and providing daycare during business hours.

This article contains small ways companies can use to care for and support parents in the workplace.

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Article Road Map

Policies That Can Be Implemented To Support Working Parents

1 Offer More Flexibility With Working Hours

Parents will flourish in organizations that foster trust and permit mental health days, which will increase employee retention, productivity, and performance. Flexibility in the workplace benefits both employers and employees.

2 Define The Demographic

Most businesses focus their efforts on visible working parents, such as new mothers, and devote all of their programs to lactation rooms and other pertinent supports.

Although these are admirable, positive steps, parenting is an 18-year job that is carried out by both men and women in all types of family structures, whether they are biological or adopted. 

Aligning your organization’s programs with this reality, such as by urging all staff to use existing personal days for caregiving needs, will help you better target the problem and will also convey a more inclusive message.

3 Acknowledge And Foster Peer-to-Peer Learning

When working parents require direction or inspiration, they turn to authorities like their admired coworkers and mentors, people they can rely on who is familiar with the politics and culture within the company. 

Giving these internal peer coaches some fundamental direction, even just a few talking points, enables them to communicate effectively when it counts.

4 Focus On Results

Make compassion, empathy, and kindness a part of your culture while emphasizing results rather than hours worked. 

As a bonus, give each employee access to a happiness fund that they can use to indulge in enjoyable or relaxing activities. 

It can be used by parents to pay for dance lessons, while nonparents can use it to pay for a nanny so they can have a few quiet dinners alone.  

5 Support A Higher Level Of Autonomy

Your teams and their families would benefit greatly from allowing time for work to be completed when it is most convenient for them to do so to support their family environments. This level of autonomy should be supported by the workplace environment.

6 Become A Market Maker

Leverage your organization’s existing infrastructure to connect working parents and to make practical aspects of parenting easier. 

You can use an Intranet bulletin board that allows any employee to trade tips and leads on child care or let employees pass hand-me-down baby and child products to their colleagues.

This results in a more collaborative culture, and employees who spend less time worrying about and solving practical parenting problems.

7 Focus on The Resources You Do Have On Key Transition Points

Working parenthood depends on being able to successfully negotiate transition points, such as hand-offs and turns. 

Even the most capable working parent employee may experience stress or setbacks when returning from leave, welcoming a second or third child, or accepting a change in role or schedule. 

Because of this, focusing incentives and programming on these crucial areas can result in a sizable return on investment.

For parent workers who are switching roles, relocating to a new office, or moving to a different region, organizations can provide counseling and support. 

Your employees will remain more engaged and focused both now and in the future if these pivot points are made easier.

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8 Make Vacation Non-negotiable

Even in the absence of explicit pressure, Type A professionals who work in high-performance organizations frequently choose to forego holidays and vacation days. 

This practice is particularly risky for working parents because it can result in burnout, family problems, a decline in performance, or attrition. 

Intelligent businesses and managers should figure out how to signal to their staff that it’s time for a break and it’s non-negotiable.

9 Set A Visible Example

The example of respected leaders who successfully juggle work and family will always be more powerful than any program or policy in terms of encouraging and inspiring working parent employees. 

Ensure that you and the other managers in your organization are setting the example for the behavior and mindset you desire in others.

10 Give Parents Ownership Of Their Time-Keeping 

Give parents control over how they manage their time so they have the freedom to balance their obligations to their families and their careers. If full hours are not worked, it should be okay as long as their delivery is still effective.

11  Ask Parents About Their Top Challenges

Asking them directly about their top priorities and challenges while displaying curiosity rather than judgment is one parent-friendly strategy to better support working parents. 

You can put yourself far ahead of the game by having a clear focus on weekly measurable results and being supported by an effective reporting strategy.

12 12 Encourage Managers To Get Personal

Many managers avoid having personal conversations out of concern that they will come off as inappropriate, and many workers are reluctant to talk about personal matters out of concern that they will come across as unfocused or unprofessional. 

By allowing for new conversations appropriately, smart managers can assist staff in preventing many work-life issues and foster a sense of support among their team members.  

13 13 Advertise Employee Resources Already In Place 

Significant employee resources are already available in many corporations, including employee assistance programs, counseling benefits, and human resources staffers with coaching and employee support certifications. 

However, most employees are either unaware of their existence, unsure of how to access them, or certain that doing so will harm their careers. 

Smart businesses make existing benefits evident and available to everyone, so don’t just provide resources; make it simple for your people to access them.

14 14 Extend Maternity Time Off

Organizations should allow parents to work from home and create family-friendly events and to better support working parents, policymakers should allow for flexible scheduling and extend the maternity leave period.

15 15 Offer A Paid Option To Work Remotely

Companies should have budgets set aside for people who prefer to work from a cafe or co-working space rather than from their homes. 

While many parents appreciate the newfound freedom of flexible work schedules and working from home, it’s also crucial to give them the choice to work somewhere else. 

Giving parents the option to work from an office, cafe, or home is ideal because many people who work from home end up doing so much housework.

16 16 Combatting Workplace Discrimination

Some working mothers believe they have been the victim of discrimination at work since having children. 

A serious issue needs to be addressed because of this and these women report receiving a diagnosis for a mental health condition after having children. 

Raising employee awareness of the needs and value of working mothers in the workplace by providing a range of support options is an effective policy.

17 17 Making Use Of Productivity

Many parents feel their performance and job satisfaction at work can increase, but only given the right working conditions. 

Any improvement in outlook and output is significant for your company and a very helpful way to meet objectives sooner than expected and boost employee morale.  

18 18 Allow Parents To Bring Kids To Work

Sometimes allowing parents to bring their children to work is a good idea, because it can be difficult and expensive to arrange for daycare and babysitters. 

A group of children will require daycare, education, and other services for a few hours, but this is manageable and not expensive. 

The knowledge that their children are secure and within easy reach will make the parents happy and relieved.

19 Categorize Communications

By categorizing communications, especially those sent after hours, you can reduce the stress for working parents.

Encouraging senior managers to follow suit can have a significant impact on how parents perceive work-life balance.

20 Ensuring Development

Managers should be supportive of returning employees’ efforts to grow and learn, especially given how quickly changes take place in the workplace and outdated practices emerge.

Training should be considered essential rather than optional and flexible training methods, such as VR and digital options, must be made available to parents to ensure they feel valued.  

Support Parents In The Workplace 

It is now customary to talk about and offer flexible work schedules, which demonstrates your company’s support and willingness to make adjustments to support working parents. 

Flexibility regarding office hours is a great place to start and can be developed further by introducing benefits packages, providing subsidies for childcare and healthcare, and removing additional potential financial or care concerns.

Hope this guide helps your organization with policies that can help support the working parents in your team.

Have a great day.

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