Creating a family-friendly workplace

| June 21, 2016

Creating a family-friendly workplace

If you want your business to be seen as an attractive place to work, salaries are only a small part of the equation. Many of your potential or current employees are likely to be parents of young children, and they want to work at a company where they’ll have the flexibility to balance their family needs with their work life.

Creating a family-friendly environment means that you’re likely to retain workers for longer, and that your workplace will receive a reputation as a positive work environment for working parents. In order to build a family-friendly atmosphere, consider these options.

Allow workers to move to a part-time schedule if desired

Many new mothers would like to continue working part-time after their babies are born, but they are not given that option by their employers. Benefits such as health insurance and pension plans are often available only to full-time employees, and in many cases, businesses simply don’t give the option of cutting back to a part-time workload. By offering the option of a reduced workload with full benefits, you’ll be likely to retain workers who you otherwise might have lost completely. You might even consider a “job share” arrangement, in which two new parents each take on a set number of hours to work the equivalent of one full-time job.

Create a flexible hours and location policy

Parents often have obligations such as day-care drop-off and pick-up, and must often remain at home when their children are sick. Instead of holding your employees to a rigid 9-to-5 schedule, allow them to work a set number of hours on a timetable that suits them, which may mean allowing them to come to work at 7 AM and leave at 3 PM. For jobs that can be done from any location, you can also offer telecommuting options—either on a regular basis or only in situations where an employee can’t come in because of family obligations.

Offer on-site child care

If at least a few of your employees have young children, it could be worthwhile to launch an on-site child care centre within your building. This will allow parents to check in on their children throughout the day, which will raise workplace morale. Additionally, because your employees won’t need to drive anywhere to drop off or pick up their kids, they’re more likely to be willing to work late or arrive early when necessary.

Provide generous paid maternity and paternity leave

Most—though not all—workplaces offer at least six weeks of maternity leave for new mothers. However, this time is not always compensated, so many new parents find themselves stressing about money just as they’re trying to adapt to the biggest change of their lives. Provide as much paid time off for both new mothers and fathers as your business can comfortably afford. When your employees return after their leave, they’ll be more satisfied and more productive, and this will translate into higher profits for your company.

Give “new baby care packages” to your employees

New parents generally have their hands full, and are grateful for any additional help in the early months. Show that you care by providing a company care package that includes items such as baby clothes, diapers, and vouchers for local take-out restaurants.