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How Can Companies Support Working Parents?

How do you support working parents? Read on to find out!

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A working parent and his son sitting together on a chair
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Understanding the challenges of work and family 🏡

A healthy workplace with a positive company culture is made up of a diverse array of backgrounds, perspectives, and experiences. When we consider how to make a workplace inclusive enough to achieve this, it’s important that we consider the well-being of working mothers and fathers on our teams.

It’s hard enough balancing work and life, and getting oneself ready for the workday (looking at you, 8am traffic and/or noisy upstairs neighbors). Imagine doing so after feeding and dressing at least one other human being. 

💡 Employees that are raising children may struggle with:

  • The financial stress of providing for their family
  • Concerns about the health and safety of their children (especially in the current COVID-19 pandemic)
  • Difficulty navigating work-life balance
  • Inability to adhere to rigid schedules that don’t account for doctor’s appointments, dance recitals, and parent-teacher conferences

Of course, all parents’ experiences are different and what might not be an issue for one parent may be a huge workplace barrier for another. 

As an employer, it’s important for you and your human resources department to assess how to support working parents in your company.

5 ways employers can support working parents 🙌

1. Offer paid parental leave 🤝

Offices that offer paid parental leave to all new parents attract candidates at different stages of their lives. 

Helping employees feel empowered to take leave to care for children with the security that their job will be there when they return are much more likely to call a workplace home for years.

Additionally, members of the team will be more productive without the added stress of the financial insecurity that often comes with an extended work absence. Paid family leave is a gesture of good faith in an employee and their ability to grow personally and professionally.

2. Two words: remote work 🏠

Believe it or not, attending meetings in sweatpants is not the only advantage of working remotely. 

Particularly for parents and caregivers, work from home can offer an array of benefits including:

  • Work-life balance: A shut laptop at the end of the workday is a clear signal that an employee can officially be fully present with themselves and their loved ones.
  • Flexibility: When parents and caregivers cut out the commute, they are able to accomplish meaningful personal tasks without fear of judgment or being accused of wasting work hours.
  • Mental health and well-being: Working parents who feel confident that they can respond to their children’s needs are much more likely to be present, attentive, and relaxed. 

Remote work isn’t just a COVID fad anymore, it’s quickly becoming reality for companies everywhere. And working parents have especially found it helpful for a healthier work-life balance.

3. Provide a more flexible work schedule 🤸

If you’ve ever had the privilege of sleep-training an infant, you might understand why it would be a nightmare to lead a full-volume standing video conference during your baby’s nap hour.

Now’s the time to re-evaluate how “mandatory” that team check-in is that takes place at precisely middle school pick-up time.

If an employee has outcome-based expectations, rather than arbitrary meeting times and benchmarks, they might find that they are most adept at creative work right after their kids are dropped off at school or that they are able to accomplish their most focused work during nap time.

A company that recognizes the nuances of a parent’s schedule and is open to flexible working hours can help employees figure out the schedule that makes them the greatest asset to the company for the long term.

4. Create a people-first culture 👯

Which came first, the fulfilled employees or the healthy workplace? 

Trick question. 

🚨 In order to have a productive, growth-oriented, innovative company, you must have team members whose needs are met and respected. 

Are there policies in place in the company because “this is how we’ve always done it” that no longer serve modern working parents? Time to rework them. 

💡 Show employees that they are valued as individuals. 

If a parent needs to take a long lunch once a week to coordinate a pickup and drop-off with a partner, but they meet all of their assigned duties for the week, is there a point to punitive action? If we’ve never hosted the company fundraiser midday so that families could attend, why not listen when the idea is presented?

At the very least, it’s worth reassessing a policy if it means showing respect and consideration for a valued employee. Employees who feel like their needs are addressed are more likely to stay at a company and more likely to attract friends and colleagues to positions in the workplace.

5. Offer child care options 👶

Child care can be a huge financial barrier and source of stress, and offering it is one of the best ways to support working parents. Creating pathways to safe, affordable, convenient childcare options can relieve a lot of stress for a working parent. 

That employee is, in turn, able to be more present knowing that their child is safe and engaged. If said child care is on-sight at an in-person workplace, working parents are also saving money and cutting down their commute. 

Even if an employee doesn’t need to or choose to utilize the company’s childcare options, the gesture communicates to all working parents that their identities are recognized, valued, and celebrated.

We 💙 our working parents

Anybody who has ever successfully negotiated a bedtime with a first grader is probably an asset to your team. Show them that you value them and their employee experience by giving them the tools they need to be the best employees and best parents that they can be!

P.S. Want to celebrate your workplace parents? Check out our Mother's Day, Father's Day, and Family-Friendly collections!

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