Working Parents — how to support them without forgetting about the childless

A good and engaged employee is one who is satisfied with their work. That’s why it’s so important to take care of the well-being of your team, which often includes a large group of working parents. Learn how you can support them and help in balancing their professional and private lives.

Balancing parenthood with professional work can be a significant challenge for many people. Often, a thriving career and the fear that the business position may become threatened after the arrival of a child can be deterrents to starting a family. That’s why support from companies for those planning to have children, as well as those who are already parents, is so important. As an employer, you can introduce a range of solutions that will make it easier for young parents to perform their professional duties successfully.

Supporting parents in the workplace is beneficial not only for the individuals concerned but also for your organization. One of the main trends in HR this year is the broad concept of Work-life Balance and a pro-employee attitude manifested by promoting wellness in the workplace. Therefore, implementing programs for parents will result in greater employee satisfaction, attachment to the organization, loyalty, better efficiency, and a positive positioning of your company.

However, it’s important to remember that each of the following ideas should not only concern working parents. Complaints are often heard from those who have decided not to have children, feeling they are not treated equally at work compared to parents. They have fewer opportunities to take care of their comfort, for instance, they can’t take vacation during school holidays because parents with children are given priority, or they have to take on additional tasks because a colleague is caring for a sick child. Therefore, although the proposed solutions primarily support parents, it’s worth remembering that they can also positively affect childless individuals. They, too, should be allowed similar benefits during their daily work – for the good of the entire team.

Flexible Working Hours

The first proposal that allows for the combination of professional and private life is the introduction of flexible working hours. Parents face many important events – school performances, significant doctor’s appointments. Allowing work within flexible hours, such as coming in or leaving an hour earlier or later, taking a break during the day, or finishing work in the evening, gives parents the freedom to participate and support their child in important family moments, while ensuring that all tasks assigned to the employee are completed and the number of working hours matches.

Remote or Hybrid Work Model

Another way to support parents, who also want to develop their professional careers, is the introduction of remote or hybrid work. This is a good solution to avoid long absences of the employee, caused by, for example, a child’s illness. Thanks to remote work, our employee can take care of the child at home and perform their work duties.

The Covid-19 pandemic has led to a reorganization of the work model, and remote work is now becoming the standard for many organizations. If your company has not yet offered this option, consider it to help working parents and others.

Task-Oriented Work Mode

Every parent knows that good organization is key. Thanks to good organization of duties and work time, your team will be able to combine completing all tasks from the “to do” list with household responsibilities. Focusing on tasks rather than work hours can be crucial here. Introducing a task-oriented work mode means holding employees accountable for the tasks or KPIs assigned to them, instead of the hours worked.

The final result of the work remains the same since all tasks are completed, but the time in which employees carry them out is flexible, allowing them to balance work with home life.

Additional Days Off

Legally, all parents are entitled to an additional two days off for childcare. However, as a business owner or manager, you can introduce an individual system and more days off from work to make it easier for working parents to combine both roles. Just as many companies have introduced menstrual leave, we can expand such initiatives to include days for moms and dads in case of a child’s illness or for school start or end dates.

These are events in which parents definitely want to participate, and a big plus will be not having to use vacation days for these purposes.

Workplace Childcare Activities

Another step to support parents that an employer can take is to organize childcare within the organization. Examples include day camps or a nanny in the workplace. Educational and developmental activities that gather employees’ children, providing them with entertainment and care during parents’ working hours, are a dream solution for everyone!

This is especially important during periods when educational and care facilities are closed, such as holidays, vacations, and Christmas breaks when parents regularly go to work.

Employee Surveys

The ideas mentioned above are slowly becoming HR standards. However, as the famous saying goes, “nothing about us without us.” Therefore, start the introduction of all new policies in the organization on behalf of working parents by surveying the needs of this group, for example, with the help of Ostendi Team Insight Survey, a tool for surveying employee opinions and engagement.

Surveys, 1:1 conversations, open debates, and listening to the needs of your employees are good solutions. They know best what benefits and facilities will be most advantageous and valuable for them.

Remember, caring for your employees and prioritizing their needs and expectations will directly translate into financial benefits for your organization. Job satisfaction, attachment to the company, better performance and results, reduced turnover, and lower recruitment or sick leave costs will enable comfortable work for you and your team.