Back to School and Back to Work
28th August 2018
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Back to school…back to work

As the school holidays draw to an end and the shoe shops fill with frantic parents trying to juggle the school’s demand for "sensible" with their beloved off spring’s desire for “cool,” many Mums and Dads are thinking longingly of a return to the sanity that is their 9-5 job, while others may be starting to think about a part-time return to work that fits around being there for the kids. 


It is widely recognised that engagement, productivity and motivation as well as employee retention rates increase significantly in companies that have a positive and family-friendly work culture. 

So how can you be a family-friendly company to all of your employees who are doing the work-home juggle?

Firstly, there has to be senior management buy-in to the idea of a family-friendly work culture. This has to be lead from the top for it to work.  Then there are numerous other aspects to consider – none of which are difficult and many of which can benefit all employees whether they have children or not:

  1. Have policies and procedures in place for maternity, paternity, adoption, and shared parental leave so that everyone knows where they stand. 
  2. Have a positive approach to time off for dependents and unpaid parental leave – recognising this not only as a legal right but also something that allows all employees to take care of those they love when there is an emergency without fear of getting into trouble at work.
  3. Consider flexible working options that will benefit the company as well as employees – varying working hours, offering flexi-time so Dad can make it the school play or Mum can get to the orthodontist appointment (or someone can take granny to the chiropodist!), and allow working from home when dependents are sick enables working parents and carers to make positive decisions and to focus on their work at the right times.
  4. Respect peoples’ home life – don’t routinely schedule meeting for 5.00pm or 8:30am when your employees with family commitments may struggle to attend, and when these meetings are occasionally necessary give plenty of notice.
  5. Be open to new ways of bringing teams together – the Friday night beers you enjoy may exclude some working parents or carers – why not mix things up with a team lunch or the occasional family friendly BBQ?
  6. Walk the talk – if your policy says that flexi-time is allowed then encourage a culture where people can use that without fear of negative comment from others.
  7. Communicate – ask your employees what they would like and find ways to introduce their ideas in ways that benefit the business as well.

These thoughts aren't about pandering to some employees or allowing perks to parents over other employees – this is about good business practice and creating a positive open culture that enables everyone to be and do their very best at work. Now back to those shoes..

For more details about employee-friendly work policies, speak to Sam Swinstead at vivoHR. 

About the Author

Tracey S

Member since: 27th June 2014

I have over 20 year’s marketing experience working for companies including Hewlett Packard, Royal Mail, Hitachi and AQA. I live in Fleet and am the owner of thebestof Fleet helping small and medium companies...

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