Parents in the workplace account for a significant percentage of the professional workforce, in the United States. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), in 2021, at least one parent was employed in 89.1 percent of families with children, up from 88.5 percent in 2020. According to a 2020 study that analyzed 25 states across the nation, 8.4 million children under the age of five needed childcare. However, only about 5.9 million childcare slots were available.
So how can employers help this key part of their working staff? With parents accounting for a large percentage of the workforce, there are a few options to consider. Employers can help parents maintain balance by offering benefits like hybrid schedules, flexible schedules, and additional support by creating a culture where employees can be open about (and employers are supportive of) parental challenges.
What is a Hybrid Schedule?
A ‘hybrid schedule’ is a combination of in-office and home-office work. It lets employees work from home on certain days and from the office on others. This option can be flexible to allow the employee to pick a work from home day or the employer can choose which day(s) they would like employees in the office and which day(s) would work best for the company for the employee to work from home. With set policies and expectations, this type of arrangement can be beneficial for both the employer and employee.
What is Flexible Scheduling?
With many employees facing the challenge of obtaining childcare, allowing employees to have a schedule that doesn’t follow the traditional 9-to-5/40-hour work week structure could also be a benefit. Flexible scheduling is when an employer allows the employees’ hours to differ based on the needs of the individual as long as their job duties are being completed. Allowing employees to vary their arrival and/or departure times can assist employees with childcare coverage. Again, with clear expectations, policies, and pre-scheduling, this option can be a great asset to both the employee and employer.
Creating a “Family Friendly” Culture:
The culture of a company can be another “win” for employees. When employees come to work, especially working parents, creating an environment where they can be social (within reason, of course), openly communicate their wins and challenges, these are just a couple of examples of how employers can encourage employees with families to feel comfortable and accepted in the work environment. Creating a “family friendly” culture may help address parenting issues, and it can help employees by allowing them to talk about what they really need from their employer and therefore be a long-term, successful employee.
As an employer, it may be beneficial to take an honest step back and see if options such as these could be offered to current and future employees, or even certain positions within the company. Adding these additional benefits can help retain top talent while making employees feel that they can both maintain their career as well as be available to their family.
Email me to find out how PEAR can help you support your employees with families! firstname.lastname@example.org
Camille Pavelko – HR Administrator, PEAR Core Solutions, Inc. – www.pearcoresolutions.com