KEEPING UP TO DATE
Family Friendly Doesn’t Mean Fiasco
6 Feb 2017
Creating a family-friendly work environment used to have managers in a panic about sky-rocketing costs and worried about service levels, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Family-friendly can be a win-win situation in SMEs.
With the increasing rate of parents (both men and women) trying to balance family with work responsibilities and single parent families, companies have to embrace family-friendly practices to compete for the best employees.
How do you implement family-friendly practices without the pain?
While there are a number of legally required family-friendly work practices that every employer must provide (such as maternity leave), there is also an array of simple, cost neutral ideas that can be implemented effortlessly and with no negative impact on the business or your clients. It is these ideas that can really make the difference when employees are weighing whether or not they will look for another role or join your business in the first place.
Embracing family friendly can be really easy. Why not start by:
- Allowing employees to start work earlier and leave earlier; or start work later and leave work later
- Allowing employees to take a reduced lunch break so they can leave early every day or accumulate those short lunches to leave early one day a week (but remember no break at all, may be bad for concentration and even in the worst situation illegal.)
- Considering a four-day week or a nine-day fortnight option where employees work the same hours but in a reduced number of days
- Job sharing, where two or more employees share the same role. It is a great way to balance work and home and it also provides businesses with some built in holiday or resignation coverage
- Implementing telecommuting opportunities in appropriate roles
- Allowing parents to “bank” extra hours worked (without penalty rates paid) so they can utilise the account to attend to family needs.
Why not stop:
- Automatically saying no to requests without first discussing how they could work in your business and teams
- Resisting change out of fear that it may be too hard to implement or you can’t go back. Document any agreement you make with an employee as a “trial” for a specific period of time and give it an opportunity to work. If at the end of the trial, it hasn’t worked you can explain why the business can’t offer that flexibility going forward. Your employee is more likely to appreciate the attempt than if you just say “no”.
You can also put financial concerns to rest with the truth about family-friendly working environments. You don’t have to change the whole way you work to be family friendly, but it will change your business through its advantages.
Benefits of being family friendly environment include:
- Increased employee engagement, and its demonstrated positive impact on your bottom line
- Longer retention of current employees which increases customer satisfaction
- More potential employees seeking to join your business, which decreases service interruptions
- Reduced levels of employee absenteeism allowing improved scheduling and work completion
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