Be Mindful of Working Parents

September 11, 2019

It’s that time of year again; back-to-school season has arrived. For seasoned parents, this routine is boiled down to a science, with factors like before and after school care, activities, and sick days being accounted for.

With these in mind, here’s an important question to ask as we enter the fall season: is your workplace parent-friendly?

There are a few simple ways to support your working parents, without losing a step throughout your day to day workflow. In this blog, we will suggest a few ideas coupled with some underlying principles to consider when forming a parent-friendly working environment.

Be supportive

In today’s day and age, it’s important to acknowledge and understand various life circumstances your employees will undergo- especially parenthood. As the workplace evolves, so does its participants. Gone are the days of a traditional nuclear family in every household. Every parent has their unique situation, with their own unique needs.

The integrity of a company now hinges on the inclusivity and breadth of support it offers its employees, including overall support for parents. Ensure working parents feel included by engaging them in conversation about their children. By genuinely asking about their child(ren)’s schooling, birthdays, and activities, you openly express interest and furthermore, your support.

Parental Guilt

It’s tough enough having to deal with the logistical whirlwind that accompanies childcare and parenthood; parents that have to deal with workplace guilt can also hinder their ability to perform at work.

Missing an important work call or meeting to pick up a child from school for any reason can cause a parent to feel guilty for abandoning their work to co-workers and clients that may not always be understanding. This “parental guilt” can take its toll and should be counteracted with adequate support from colleagues, particularly managers.

Be flexible

As mentioned in one of our previous blogs on improving work-life balance in your workplace, it’s important to be flexible with regards to your employees’ schedules.

Employers must be willing to work with last-minute changes to their employees’ schedules, especially when children are involved. Being open to telecommuting, leaving early and arriving late are important caveats to consider when managing employees that are parents. An employer that is willing to work with their employees when it comes to children will be sure to build loyalty through gratitude over time.

Be helpful

Consider offering helpful resources that will augment their family lives, which can have a positive and productive influence on their work-life balance. Examples include paying for or hosting financial advising classes for families, workshops for new parents, and inclusive events like “Take your kid to work” day.

Performing initiatives such as these are a great way to take a more active role in engaging your parent employees, in addition to making any future parents feel supported before they have children. A great way to expand initiatives is to keep open channels of communications between your employees and management; put out a suggestion box, or collect monthly comments from your team for new ideas they would like to see implemented.

Wondering if your work environment is supportive of working parents? Connect with our team of experts for a free HR consultation.

Ben Waring
INSIGHT WRITTEN BY:
Ben Waring