Balancing job and family life is not easy, but it doesn’t have to be impossible.
Sodexo’s 2015 Workplace Trends Report found that more companies are implementing “family-friendly” provisions to help dual-career couples and single parents better manage their work-life balance. Keeping work in check for employees helps reduce absenteeism, disengagement and job dissatisfaction.
For many of us, our family is our motivation for going into work each day, which is why extending employee benefits to family members and creating family-friendly policies is appreciated and sought-after by employees.
When thinking about what benefits to offer, remember employees have families to care for, too. So, consider offering some of the following family-friendly benefits and perks:
1. Educational assistance.
The rising costs of college tuition can cause problems both at work and at home. Employers who assist their employees’ dependents to pay for college will find their workforce is more motivated and less stressed.
Unfortunately, companies that provide educational assistance to family members are few and far between. According to the Society for Human Resources Management’s (SHRM) 2014 Employee Benefits Report, only 13 percent of the 510 HR professionals surveyed said their organization provided educational scholarships. A mere 2 percent offered educational loans for members of employees’ families.
Those percentages aren’t hopeful for employees, but they do provide an opportunity for employers. Companies can set themselves apart from the competition for talent by offering educational scholarships, loans or pre-tax spending accounts for family members.
2. Paid parental leave.
It’s one thing to have a generous, paid maternity leave policy, as most companies do, but it’s another to also have paid paternity leave. Offering both is one more way to support employees’ lives outside of work and ensure that they’re fully-focused when they are in the office.
To provide employees with a better work-life balance, more companies are offering various forms of paid family-related leave, ranging from maternity and paternity leave to adoption, family and medical leave.
When it comes down to it, employees are far more likely to take advantage of leave benefits when they’re paid. Giving employees a set amount of paid leave time for family medical emergencies or child-related welfare encourages employees to make the most of what’s being offered.
3. Onsite child care.
Providing parents with reliable, safe and convenient child care allows them to bring their young children to work, spend lunch and breaks together, check in on them and leave together at the end of the work day. It gives employees peace of mind that can’t be obtained any other way, which makes it an effective recruiting tool and job satisfaction driver for working parents.
Having an onsite child care facility isn’t just a “nice” thing to do for employees. It makes business sense, as it increases job satisfaction and decreases turnover. Everybody wins. At the very least, employers should consider allowing employees to bring their children to work in a childcare emergency or offer a childcare referral service.
Employers may offer all of the above, but the most crucial aspect of creating a family-friendly workplace is to exhibit family-supportive behavior. Employees won’t take advantage of these offerings if they feel that their workplace is intolerant of their efforts to better balance their work and family demands.
Creating a family-friendly workplace culture is the most important step in helping employees achieve more balance between their work and family life. One way to show that the company values family time is by hosting company events or activities that get family members involved, such as “Take Your Child to Work Day,” family appreciation outings or benefits fairs for family members during open enrollment periods.