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4 Policies That Support a Family-Friendly Workplace Culture

by Tim AustinFebruary 20, 2020 8:00 AM

Over time, it’s becoming more apparent that people’s personal and professional lives will occasionally overlap. The Bureau of Labor Statistics found that 63 percent of families with children under the age of 18 had both parents employed. Add in millions of single parents trying to balance home and work responsibilities and you have a lot of employees who seriously value a family-friendly workplace. 

Managing work and family obligations can take a serious toll on people, which can have a direct impact on your business. Not only can this balance impact the quality of their work, but it can also lead frustrated mothers and fathers to look for more family-friendly workplaces. Fortunately, family-friendly policies are beneficial to employers as well as employees. According to the University of Kansas, a family-friendly workplace can help you:

  • Make employees more productive
  • Create a less stressful work environment
  • Attract more top talent
  • Retain quality employees

So what can you do to make your business more family-friendly? Here are four policies that can help your business appeal to existing and potential family-oriented employees.

An employee working at home with her daughter thanks to a family-friendly workplace policy.

Flexible Schedules

A little flexibility can go a long way. Back in 2017, the Harvard Business Review asked 2,000 U.S. workers which benefits they’d consider when deciding between a higher-paying job and a lower-paying job with better perks. According to that survey, a whopping 88 percent of people said they’d consider a lower-paying job that offered more flexible hours, with roughly 40 percent of them giving the offer heavy consideration.

While the Department of Labor defines a traditional schedule as a 9-to-5, 40-hour workweek, family responsibilities can wreak havoc on such a schedule. Whether employees need to drop off or pick up kids at school, stay home to watch over the little ones, or adjust their hours for any other reason, a flexible schedule can help them maintain a regular workload (and their sanity). 

Another option is to offer employees the ability to opt for condensed workweeks. Instead of five eight-hour days, your workers can choose to work four 10-hour days and take off Friday, do four nine-hour days and work a half-day Friday, or some other weekly schedule. Regardless of which option(s) work best for your employees, having the flexibility to come in late or leave early can help relieve stress, reduce absenteeism, and increase productivity for workers who now have less to worry about while they’re at work. 

Another big advantage is that flexible hours are a free benefit you can offer. It doesn’t cost extra money for you to provide employees some wiggle room and you can offer ground rules as to what is and isn’t allowed, such as maintaining core hours where employees must be present. In return, you’ll have a happier workforce that recognizes that you know that there’s life outside of work.

Work From Home

Similar to flex time, the ability to work from home gives employees a chance to be home when they need to for their families. In fact, that same HBR survey found that 80 percent of people would consider taking less money in exchange for work-from-home options.

This interest in telecommuting is embraced by more than just employees. The number of people who telecommute has more than doubled over the past decade, with millions of people spending at least half their schedule working outside the office. Over time, business owners have recognized the value of allowing employees to work off site if possible. 

Not only does telecommuting help out any employees who need to stay home with young or sick kids, it can even boost productivity. According to Global Workplace Analytics, two-thirds of businesses reported increased productivity among telecommuting employees. Whether it’s because those workers had more control over their personal and professional lives or some other reason, allowing employees to work from home can make your business a more family-friendly place for people who need to be home during business hours.

Daycare Assistance

Childcare is a major commitment, both in terms of time and money. Whether you opt to provide work flexibility or not, daycare assistance is another way to develop a family-friendly workplace.

Between the daycare costs and conflicting schedules, childcare issues can have a direct impact on whether an employee decides to join or leave your company. According to Care.com’s Cost of Care report, 69 percent of parents have said that childcare has influenced their career decisions. That’s a lot of talent hanging in the balance depending on your benefits plan. To help out these employees, consider offering one or a combination of the following perks:

  • On-site daycare services
  • Child care subsidies
  • Flexible spending accounts for dependent care

Parental Leave

Welcoming a new child into the family is an exciting time for any parent, but it can also be incredibly stressful. A parental leave policy can help you take some of the stress out of the situation. As an employer, you have a few options if you decide to offer parental leave:

  • Unpaid parental leave
  • Paid parental leave
  • A combination of paid and unpaid parental leave

As expected, paid leave is the most attractive option for employees, but it means you’re still on the hook for paying the new parent while he or she is out. On the flip side, not having a parental leave plan – or one that doesn’t offer any form of paid leave – makes it much more likely that prospective parents will look for better benefits elsewhere. Regardless of which route you chose, adding a parental leave policy to your company’s benefits plan will help show your workers that you care about them and their families outside of work, which can go a long way toward creating a family-friendly culture.

Make Your Company a Destination for Good Employees

The average employee spends more time at work than home, but that doesn’t mean your company can’t make it a bit easier to maintain a healthy work-life balance. Establishing family-friendly workplace policies can help you attract and retain top talent so that you have the right people in place at your business.

Of course, your employees aren’t the only people who deserve a little help maintaining a good work-life balance. In addition to employee benefits administration, there are several key business functions that can eat up your schedule. Fortunately, a PEO can provide the comprehensive HR administrative service you need to manage your business’ HR needs so that you can focus on your business – and the occasional day off – instead of handling payroll or some other time-consuming task.

Ready to focus on growing your work family? Contact us today to talk to one of our experts about how we can take on the burden of HR administration for you.

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