On the one hand, employers undoubtedly come across situations connected with workers’ parenting issues (especially sudden or prolonged absences). On the other hand, however, the world is currently facing a demographic crisis in most countries due to low birth rates. It is therefore necessary to support those who choose to have children and do not want to give up their careers. How can workplaces do this? Here are some of the most effective practices for supporting working parents.
4 good practices to support working parents – table of contents:
- Working parents – what is their current situation?
- Working parents – how can you help them?
- Tactics for supporting parents – summary
Working parents – what is their current situation?
We should notice that in many ways working parents already have it easier – the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in the proliferation of remote work or the possibility of working hybrid. This allows them, for example, to request a home office when their child is sick and not lose their vacation time because of it (although, of course, doing work under such conditions can also be difficult).
However, this is only the tip of the iceberg in terms of needs, as it relates to only one situation in the “organizational” area. Support is also needed in areas such as care during pregnancy, child-related financial benefits, or assistance when one person in a relationship returns to work.
Working parents – how can you help them?
For each company and working parent, you’ll need a different variety of tactics to help perform both roles (depending on the condition, nature of the job, role, etc.). However, it is possible to identify the benefits that will work for any mother or father and for which the greatest demand is reported. Here’s the list of the key ones.
- Flexible working hours
The need to pick up a child from school or daycare during working hours is the greatest challenge for a mother or father, especially if they cannot count on the support of grandparents, a neighbor or a colleague in this regard. It is very often stressed that flexible working hours would help solve this type of problem (in terms of starting as well as ending work, without having to work a whole day without a break).
Working parents would certainly appreciate such a gesture from the employer also in the situation of a school performance or an urgent doctor’s appointment – thanks to better organization of working time, they would ensure that their work performance doesn’t interfere with essential events in their child’s life. This is an increasingly common practice in companies in the area of starting work, but not finishing – it is rare to come across a company that requires attendance only during selected hours and allows you to work the rest of the hours at any time.
- Task-based mode of work
Task-based work mode is closely related to flexible working hours and means the ability to perform one’s duties without keeping an eye on whether one has carried out the mandatory number of hours on a given day and during the week. The accountability of the employee in such a situation is carried out by controlling whether all the tasks assigned in a given period were completed.
With such a benefit, however, there is a concern about the quality of the work of task-oriented employees, as there may be a desire to fulfill an obligation as quickly as possible, rather than to “apply themselves” to a given task. If a company wanted to introduce such a benefit, it would be necessary to seriously train working parents in task-based work.
- Additional days off for childcare
Sometimes companies in various industries decide to increase the number of days off an employee is entitled to due to, for example, seniority worked at the company (after 3 or 5 years), which is a defining benefit that stands out in the market. The same can be decided for working parents. Even if they receive a relatively small number of additional days off (2-3 – depending on the number of children, relationship status, age of children, etc.), they will thus gain more freedom to fulfill both roles at once. They will use these days off both in situations of frequent illnesses and, for example, important events in the child’s life that they would not want to miss.
- Understanding emergencies
When you’re a mother or father, it’s very common to have emergencies that require you to take time off from work – most often this happens after a call from the school or nursery with information about your child’s illness and the need for immediate pick-up. Working parents would appreciate, in such a situation, understanding from their supervisor and acquiescence to leave work and complete their tasks later – without having to use up their vacation day.
In many ways, it should be pointed out that what working mothers and fathers need most is a humane attitude of understanding, making it easier to reconcile the fulfillment of both roles. In this regard, a good practice is to train managers and team leaders to know exactly how to respond to such requests.
Tactics for supporting parents – summary
Parents, especially young mothers after maternity leave, are very apprehensive about returning to work and whether they will be able to combine having a child with the pursuit of professional fulfillment. They go to great lengths to adequately fulfill both roles, but often situations arise where one side (the child or the employer) “loses.”
If you don’t want your employees to have such dilemmas, consider how you can support them in providing the best possible conditions for performing their daily duties. Implementing the above-mentioned practices is sure to be received very positively by employees and will provide your company with a parent-friendly brand image, which will strengthen its competitiveness.