As any working parent will tell you, it’s rarely easy to balance parenting and a career. On top of managing children, a working mom or dad is also trying to manage work stress, meet deadlines, and maintain a healthy work-life balance. It can be difficult and can affect an individual’s mental and physical health. This is when organizations and leaders can step in and support working parents to make their schedules and situations a little easier.
Top Challenges Faced by Working Parents
Some of the biggest challenges that working parents face today, according to a study on working parents published in the International Journal of Human Resources Studies, include:
Given these challenges, there are a few steps that company leadership can take to ease the struggles of working parents. Best of all, these steps benefit not only workers but the company as well.
How Companies Benefit from Supporting Working Parents
Research from the largest-ever study of working parents, by Great Place to Work, found that organizations that support working parents benefit from the following:
- 5.5 times revenue due to enhanced innovation
- 89% of employees would stay with the company for a long time
- 92% are willing to go the extra mile to get the word done
Organizations that support working parents have seen lower turnover and happier employees. As priorities shift, policies and flexibility should shift as well in order to retain top talent as well as focus on employee well-being. Happy employees are productive, motivated and loyal – qualities that all businesses want to see in their employees.
How Can Organizations Support Working Parents?
Knowing all the information and benefits, it’s important for organizations to step in and support their employees not only to keep them in their business but also to protect their overall health and well-being.
1. Offer schedule flexibility
Allowing your employees to have workplace flexibility will be extremely helpful to ensure that the individual can focus on important issues that arise at home as well as be fully present at work. A flexible schedule gives the employee an opportunity to have their work done on time and meet their deadlines accordingly.
This eases stress in case they need to tend to their children and other relatives and is likely to make them feel like their company cares about them as a person and focuses on the quality of work rather than simply their presence in the office.
2. Be open and transparent
Keep all lines of communication open and allow for open and honest conversations surrounding support needed, such as schedule adjustments. Clearly communicate what is expected and what the priorities should be. Understand some of the challenges the working parents might be faced with and manage them with empathy and understanding.
Allow for regular check-ins and offer any help or support if needed. Be approachable and let your employees know they can come to you when needed.
3. Encourage vacation and time off
Sometimes, busy schedules and ongoing deadlines can lead to employees not taking a much-needed break. As a manager, take note of your team members’ time off and encourage them to take time to recharge and spend time with their families. Some working parents may feel like they need to continuously work to prove themselves, but this should not be the case. Explain to employees that taking time off is beneficial for their health.
Additionally, keep in mind that a vacation will improve your team member’s productivity and motivation when they are back at work, making it a win-win situation for all.
4. Build a resource group for parents
Everyone can benefit from support groups and being around people who understand what you are going through. This is when coworker resource groups are helpful and provide employees with the appropriate support they need.
If there isn’t one geared towards working parents, build a group by asking coworkers to join and allow for an environment that offers a safe space for working parents to mingle and connect. These groups can also be a go-to for tips, advice and any insights on how working parents can effectively manage their stress and other issues.
5. Revamp parental leave policies
It’s important to audit your policies every now and then to make sure you are keeping up with the current times and changing certain policies according to needs. Today’s workforce looks a lot different than even a few years ago, so it’s a good idea to take a look at certain things to help working parents – mainly parental leave.
Allow for your employees to have time off to take care of their newborns and children without having to worry about job security. Provide all the information you can to help them further with what the state laws are and any other advice that can set them up for success.
6. Strengthen well-being programs
It’s not uncommon for working parents to experience stress that can lead to burnout. That’s why companies should get ahead of this issue and focus on improving their well-being programs to help employees maintain work-life balance. This could be a companywide initiative such as stress management webinars or other outlets for employees to get together in an informal setting to recharge mentally.
Create wellness activities that employees can participate in and encourage volunteering as a way for the team to get together and do good.
7. Focus on reward and recognition
Make sure to recognize your employees and let them know you appreciate all their hard work and dedication to their job. Working parents need to know that they are being seen and that you acknowledge the time spent on projects and tasks at hand.
Recognition can go a long way in reducing stress and making people feel good about their situation. Rewards and recognition can come as shout-outs, gift cards and anything else that will show your appreciation.