How family friendly is your business?

The family dynamic and working landscape is constantly shifting.

In March 2017, 81.6 per cent of the UK’s parents between the ages of 16-64 were in employment, and 1.2 million households comprised of single working parents and their dependents.

One survey of executives across a range of fields found that more than half of companies represented had not expanded their resources to improve the work-life balance over the past five years. On top of this, only 21 per cent of workplaces surveyed offered maternity leave beyond the legal requirement, and a mere 14 per cent providing extra paternity leave. Being a family-friendly organisation translates into offering more than maternity leave, since the retention of quality employees is key. Here are a few points to consider when looking at the family-friendliness of your business.

Mum’s the Word

Working mums have assumed a central position in the workplace over the past few decades. A survey noted that one-third of working British mothers to be the main breadwinners of their households – it is still mothers who bear the brunt of parental responsibilities. InsureWithMax research found that 51 per cent of mothers feel they would have to give up work if their child were to have a serious accident or illness. This compares to just 36 per cent of fathers willing to do the same. It is important to help working mums and dads feel supported in their work and in their family lives. A seriously ill child places a strain on the whole family. By taking time off work a parent is able to give a child the time they need during both the medical crisis and the recovery period. That’s why ChildMax was created in 2016. It pays the employees’ take home salary each month for 12 months while the employee takes unpaid leave. Claim payments are tax-free and if needed, employees can choose to return to work on a part-time or flexible basis. Employee benefits such as annual ChildMax insurance are not only affordable, but also give working parents extra assurance that they are being cared for.

Family Fun

Being part of a social event at work, like team-building days or meals out benefit the morale of the team. In the case of working parents, such adult-oriented activities can be difficult to fit into family life. Likewise, it gives the impression that working parents’ commitments are not recognised within the organisation. Supplementing the work social calendar with family-friendly activities, knowing that staff can bring their partners and children is a good thing. Examples are summer BBQs and afternoon picnics that make families feel included within the workplace, and allows them an insight into the roles their loved ones play within the business. It gives employees new opportunities to get to know each other, form closer relationships and stronger networks. Managers are happy to facilitate these events, as they can see the upside for the organisation.

Not Just 2.4 Children

As the family unit evolves, business leaders must evolve beyond the notion of a wife-and-kids format. More than 6.5 million UK workers are also primary care-givers for a loved one, which puts them under much additional strain that may lead to their work suffering. It is important to let staff know that their personal commitments are acknowledged and respected, and that managers will do what they can to ease the care burden. Establishing this in a company’s culture will have a knock-on effect, as younger employees see how their colleagues are supported later in life, making everyone feel more secure and more productive.