You’re more than a professional — you’re a parent, too. The working world wouldn’t have been so kind to you in the past, as businesses kept themselves completely separate from your familial responsibilities. Now, though, parents can breathe a sigh of relief as more and more companies implement family-friendly policies. Their programs can help you be both a better employee and a better parent — a win-win for everyone involved.
Here are four remarkable ways your professional life could become more family-friendly.
1. Non-Traditional Work Schedule — or Location
Not everyone aspires to work 40 hours a week, and employers are starting to realize that. Instead, they’re offering their staff the opportunity to work on a handful of different trajectories. Some have staffers working the traditional nine-to-five schedule, while others put in reduced or part-time hours. This swap gives parents more family time than they would have had during the workweek.
Nowadays, both parents have been able to spend more time with their children than in the past. Nevertheless, a few extra hours to play together, prep meals and shop uninterrupted would all benefit working parents.
Companies have helped the moms and dads on their payroll by offering more remote working opportunities. A day at home can hugely benefit a working parent — imagine being able to get through all of your laundry while you worked.
You could reconfigure your schedule around doctors’ appointments, after-school activities or school pick-up. You can even work when you have a little one who’s at home sick for the day. Lots of bosses will also allow their staffers to work from home to deal with family issues that pop up, which is supremely helpful to professional parents.
2. On-Site Pump Rooms and Daycare
Even if you can’t work at home or on your own schedule, your company can make the office more conducive to your family life. For one thing, employers can and should provide nursing moms with a place to pump. Such a resource will allow new mothers to work comfortably all day long.
Some businesses have taken such a resource one step further by outfitting their offices with an on-site daycare. They then provide childcare services for free or at a discount for their employees. Of course, not every business has room to build a daycare on-site. In this case, you might also consider asking for partial or full reimbursement for the childcare you need while you’re at work. Plenty of businesses have stepped up to defray the costs of such necessary services.
3. Family-Friendly Parties
Once upon a time, it seemed that every work party took place at Happy Hour. Now, though, more companies include their staffers’ children in the celebration. Work parties and picnics now come with a slew of activities for little ones, as well.
For instance, a company might buy a block of seats at a baseball game for its employees and their families. When kids arrive, they’ll have more than just the game to entertain them — some stadiums now include playground spaces where children can let off steam. And these areas have plenty of kid-friendly fare for sale, too.
Planning a family-friendly day for your business can take even less planning. Even a barbecue in the park will do the trick, so long as a playset or space for the kids to run around is available.
In a similar vein, many companies allow their employees to throw parties for each other on the premises. Perhaps someone’s expecting a child — an in-house baby shower would be a sweet gesture from colleagues. Plus, the company can chip in for a small gift as a token of appreciation and respect for this huge life step.
4. Cross-Training and Career Planning
What happens when a working parent has a sick kid at home? If they stay home, the team might be left without someone to pick up the slack. It’s not the parent’s fault, of course, but such a setup leaves everyone in the lurch.
Of course, you want to keep in your coworkers’ good graces by making sure all important projects are completed promptly. So, companies have started cross-training their team so that one member can fill in for another who’s out of the office. This program helps to remove the guilt many parents feel when their kids’ issues keep them home.
Employers have also begun to ask each employee what they envision for their future with the company. These feedback sessions are essential, as they help hone a person’s potential and direct their career path.
A conversation with a working parent might reveal they want to take on different workplace responsibilities to balance out a busy home life, for example. The only way you can accommodate these needs is to ask. So, implement such a system or request one with your manager. In the end, an honest discussion and an altered list of responsibilities will better serve both the company and the employee.
A Better Life for Moms and Dads
You should never have to choose between your family and your career. As it turns out, modern businesses believe that, too. The above four changes prove some companies want to make your professional and personal lives work for them and for you. That’s great news for all working moms and dads who love both their job and their kids — you can do it all.