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15 Ways Companies Can Better Support Working Parents

By News Creatives Authors , in Leadership , at August 23, 2021

Working from home was already gaining popularity in the years leading up to the Covid-19 pandemic, but it’s become a way of life for many people since lockdowns forced employees into remote work. Working from home affords people who have someone to care for there the convenience of being able to tend to them without having to take time away from work.

Now that some organizations are returning to regular workdays in the office, those who became accustomed to caring for their families while working at home have some challenges to face. To help employers set their team members who are also caregivers at home up for success, 15 members of Forbes Human Resources Council share some of the best ways companies can support working parents below. 

1. Provide What They Need To Succeed

Find out what it takes to set your employees up for success, then try to deliver just that. They may need a flexible work schedule, on-site child care, remote work a few days a week or a combination of it all. Too often, employers are so stuck on “how it’s always been done” that they lose great talent to another organization that chose to think outside the box. – Pamela Russell, City Of Murfreesboro

2. Adopt Outcome-Based Working

Maintain flexibility in the form of outcome-based working. As long as the working parents reach their targets, submit their reports and make required meetings, there should be some form of flexibility between work and home. The landscape of working from home needs to be incorporated into a hybrid culture as we move toward that. – Tasniem Titus, Dentsply Sirona


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3. Offer Strong Support Programs

Flexible work schedules and a strong support program can help keep your employees who are working parents more engaged and productive. Working parents may appreciate the opportunity to get assistance with prepared meals or support with child care through organizations such as OutSchool and Care.com. Understanding your team’s constituents will help deliver benefits programs that speak to their needs. – Rachel Lyubovitzky, EverythingBenefits

4. Build Good Practices And A Healthy Culture

Organizations need to build good practices and a culture of healthy work-life balance. Offer flexible and remote working, encourage breaks and focus on productivity rather than hours. Give employees time to volunteer. Reconsider time off and increase support for parents. More child care benefits should be incorporated. – Soumyasanto Sen, People Conscience

5. Work With Employees To Find Creative Solutions

Flexibility is an absolute necessity. Employers need to work with employees to come up with the best creative solutions for support. Empower working parents to take the time they need to attend to the family. The traditional 9-to-5 workday simply doesn’t really exist anymore because employees are consistently working virtually and are productive no matter the time or place they work. – Leslie Tarnacki, WorkForce Software

6. Allow For Customized Schedules

Don’t assume one size fits all. Allow for workweek customization. For some, that may mean a four-day workweek where they work ten hours a day. For others, it may mean three days in the office and two days working remotely. By allowing employees to propose a work schedule (pending company approval), you will create a culture of empowerment. Measure work productivity and allow creativity in scheduling, and it’s a win-win all the way around. – Tammy Kelley, Rukes Search Group

7. Find Out Their Availability For Meetings

Survey your team and find out which day and time works for everyone if there needs to be a team meeting, catch-up call, check-in and so on. Not everyone works 9 to 5 anymore, and we need to be intentional about our approach and how we expect our employees to manage their time. – Jamie Hoobanoff, The Leadership Agency

8. Clearly Categorize Communications

Alleviate the work-life stress of working parents by categorizing communications—specifically those that occur after business hours. Send each email with a header: “For next week,” “Need ASAP” or  “Not urgent,” for example. This allows working parents to easily classify what is urgent and what can wait until Monday, which will tilt the scales of work-life balance without changing work productivity. – Rick Hammell, Elements Global Services

9. Encourage Transparency And Communication

Companies can best support working parents by encouraging transparency, honesty and open communication. Creating opportunities for leaders to regularly check in with their team members to provide timely feedback related to scheduling and priority management is critical. Employees balancing work and caregiver duties will remain most committed when they can be open with their leader. – Niki Ramirez, HRAnswers.org

10. Adopt An Equity-Based Approach

Companies should adopt an equity-based approach that works to understand and support the needs of the individual as much as possible. For working parents, one of the easiest and clearest ways to better support this would be to enable flexible working schedules that allow parents to tailor their working hours to support the needs of their family. – Matthew Brown, Schoox

11. Lead With Empathy

As more working parents return to the office, flexibility and understanding will be key to maintaining balance as many navigate the challenges of working away from home once again. Allowing employees to adjust their schedules to care for children while balancing work priorities will be key to employee engagement and well-being and, ultimately, continued business success. – Neha Mirchandani, BrightPlan

12. Create A Community For Parents

Ongoing communication and community are key. We’ve found that giving working parents a community and space to connect goes a long way. We’ve created a “community” page inside our internal social channels for working parents to share advice and resources. Both communication and community help strengthen relationships and cultivate a culture of care. – Nikki Brewer, PROS Holdings

13. Emphasize Quality Of Work Over Quantity Of Hours 

Build a culture around the quality of work versus the quantity of hours put in. Companies that don’t have flexible work schedules don’t have an edge in the market and will find it increasingly difficult to retain talent. Flexible work schedules allow employees to work when they work best. Educate your leadership teams on inclusive work styles and how a typical 9-to-5 schedule isn’t conducive to everyone’s high performance. – Faith Kibria, Milk

14. Expand Eligible Expenses For Child Care Or Senior Care

In order to support your employees who are caregivers at home, if you offer a personal spending account or wellness account, consider expanding eligible expenses to cover child care or senior care. Another way to help alleviate the stress of a double workday at home is to cover a few child care service visits (at home or at a center) with a local provider, such as Kids & Company. – Caroline Faulds, Canada Pooch

15. Broaden The Definition Of ‘Working Parents’

Broadening the definition of “working parents” to cover all caregiving relationships, such as foster parents and extended family members serving as primary caregivers, can have a huge impact in supporting the needs of employees. Creating an environment where voicing challenges and needs is encouraged and moving beyond one-size-fits-all solutions is key to supporting working caregivers. – Jennifer Rozon, McLean & Company

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