Being a parent is a job on its own. The fact that many in the workforce are parents means that they have to juggle being a parent and an employee. Maintaining a work-life balance can be challenging, but leaders can do their part in supporting working parents. Here are some ways you can do so.
Putting family-friendly policies in place
As a leader, you are responsible for having policies that promote the culture and uplift your workers. They’re just not there for legal compliance. For instance, paid leave policies such as sick leave and maternity/paternity leave should be fair and equal. Do your policies support families enough? Do they also support all kinds of families? Asking these questions is helpful to make sure that the right policies are in place.
Granting flexible work arrangements
We’re now well into a remote working setup, and many of us are adjusting to it. Working parents especially prefer this option as it allows them to spend time at home with their kids. So, once things go back to normal, why not let working parents continue to work from home? Providing proper support means they are less likely to become overwhelmed. Take note also that flexibility is not merely allowing them to work from home; it also means flexible hours or options for part-time work or more.
Connect them to resources
Another good way of supporting the working parents in your team employees is by connecting them to resources to help with work-life balance. These could be employee assistance programs, counselling, healthcare benefits, and childcare assistance. These might be available in your organisations, but perhaps they don’t know about them. Be proactive and don’t stop at only informing them; help them to connect and remove the stigma around using them. The more they feel they can talk about getting support from these programs, the more likely you’ll create a culture where employee assistance programs can actually help. This in turn will help other employees who need help be more comfortable with seeking much-needed help, not just the working parents.
Focusing on results
Your company can also adopt an outcome-based work style instead. With the new normal, being a productive worker is not measured by how many hours they’ve worked at the office but by the quality of work produced. By focusing on results instead, working parents have the freedom to do their job at their own pace while still having the time and energy to focus on their home life.
Of course, providing support would not be possible without open communication and transparency. Working parents face different issues, and providing them with a channel to freely voice their concerns and ask for additional support is essential. For instance, you can do regular check-ins with the working parents to see how they’re faring. Categorising your communication with them is also vital. For example, you can help them prioritise their workload by simply labelling your emails as “Not Urgent/Urgent,” or “For Monday,” so they know what to work on and what can wait.
It’s more crucial more than ever that employers try their best to support their employees, especially working parents. Regardless of what kind of support your company is doing, what matters is that they don’t feel overwhelmed, and that they can do what they must without sacrificing either their job or their family time. How does your company support the parents in your team?
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