Making the Workplace Family Friendly

As times change and in most families both parents have to work, families are looking at new jobs through a fresh lens. They want to be able to have fulfilling jobs as well as volunteer at their children’s schools, attend their sporting events, and catch their plays. It has become one of the most important aspects of a position that parents consider when accepting a job. This change in priorities has led many men and women into freelance positions or work from home positions. It means highly qualified and professional people are leaving the traditional workforce, but what if instead businesses embraced these employees and found a way to work with them?

Meet Employees’ Needs

Every employee needs something different, but it pays to understand what that is. Do you need to allow employees the flexibility to work from home when necessary or are there employees you can shift to a remote office full time? Maybe someone needs the opportunity to come in a little earlier and leave later so they can get their kids off the bus and to soccer practice.

It doesn’t have to be a uniform policy, but rather giving employees the reasonable flexibility to make their needs known so you can try to accommodate. More and more positions are moving to full time or part time remote offices, and it is worth considering moving your whole business to this model. In other cases, when employees must come into a workplace, flexibility is key.

Watch for Burnout

Imagine your top employee suddenly comes into work looking tired, is missing deadlines, and withdrawing from coworkers.This is burnout. There is a good chance employees aren’t going to be honest about how they are feeling. They don’t want to come across as though they can’t handle their jobs and work responsibilities. Instead they are burning the candle at both ends and coming up short at home and work. When this starts to happen it is okay to give employees a day or two at home to recenter and refocus. It’s also a time to consider offering them more flexibility.

Encourage Family Centered Events

One company buys Groupons and hands them out to employees who are doing a good job. Tickets to trampoline parks or the zoo or dinner are a great way to show employees that you know and understand their families are the most important thing in their lives. Providing employees the opportunity to do things with their families and their coworkers’ families is a great way to show employees you understand. Some businesses even organize family picnic days at local parks or official company outings that include the entire family.

Lead by Example

If you are a parent then this is the best way to show employees you respect their home lives. Your daughter has a piano recital? Your son is in the spelling bee? You and your partner are going on a weekday date? Then tell your employees you are leaving work to go watch. By doing this you are showing your team that you also put family first, and you have their backs when they need to do the same. This will encourage communication between you and employees and help build trust when they come to you and ask for flexibility to participate in their own families’ lives.

It is easy to forget that people don’t usually want to spend 8-5 every single weekday at work. Not because they don’t love their jobs or need them, but because they also want to enjoy their lives and participate in things outside of work. We have done the workday the same way for so long, but times are changing. It has become more important than ever to meet people where they are and find that balance.


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