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Ten Ways to Encourage Work-Life Balance for Working Parents

Carlos Acosta | 22.07.2021

Balancing work and life responsibilities has been a struggle for the longest time. Add to that the post-pandemic disruptions and you have an imbalance that can seriously impact your business as well as your employee’s wellbeing. Work-life balance has remained a challenge for many employees, as evidenced by data showing 66% of Americans believe they literally have no work-life balance.

Balancing work and life responsibilities has been a struggle for the longest time. Add to that the post-pandemic disruptions and you have an imbalance that can seriously impact your business as well as your employee’s wellbeing. Work-life balance has remained a challenge for many employees, as evidenced by data showing 66% of Americans believe they literally have no work-life balance.

The impact of an imbalance is exponential for working parents with a family, a home, and other responsibilities to tend to. There are numerous studies showing the negative impact of an imbalance to include poor performance and attrition, among others, which directly impacts a company’s performance.

As managers and business leaders, it’s important to understand your employees’ needs, and especially the working parents in your midst. Success is contingent upon building a culture that values work-life balance and I’ll attempt to explain as follows.

Why Is Work-Life Balance Important?

A company with a culture of work-life harmony enjoys important benefits, all of which positively affect both the employee and the business. This includes the following:

  • Higher productivity
  • Increased employee satisfaction
  • Employee loyalty
  • Improved physical and mental well-being

Aside from these benefits, it also positively impacts your employer brand by enhancing your company’s reputation as an employer that cares for its employees. This can become very advantageous when attracting and retaining talent. Unfortunately, a recent study shows that only 31% of employees feel that their company cares for them as individuals. While this is not a majority, it still shows that there is much work to be done via encouraging a healthy work-life balance. We see this dynamic quite often in our roles as facilitators and advisors in the recruitment, talent acquisition and retention process.

10 Ways to Encourage Work-Life Balance for Working Parents

Work-life balance can have varying definitions since employees’ value different things outside of work. For working parents, it is safe to say that having time for their family is one of the most important factors to be considered.

Recognizing the unique needs of working parents’ is essential for managers and human resources professionals. Here are some different ways you can encourage work-life balance for your employees that are working parents.

Flexible Working Hours and Remote Working

Working parents have more responsibilities at home, and those responsibilities often multiply depending on the number of kids they have. By offering a flexible work schedule, your employees can tend to their home duties without having to sacrifice work. Allowing a remote work set-up can also be beneficial to working parents who need to take care of their children in the event that their child care becomes unavailable.

It is important to note that flexible working hours do not mean your employees can come and go as they please. It means implementing an agreed-upon schedule that is mutually beneficial for both the employee and the business. This can be accomplished by setting a specific start and end time, a four-day workweek, telecommuting, or a combination of these. When in doubt, perhaps consider establishing the new flex time as an experiment to determine if it benefits both the business and the employee. Whatever it may be, it should be clearly communicated and followed accordingly to avoid any misunderstanding and / or productivity issues.

Focus on Output

By being output-driven, managers can empower employees by letting them manage their tasks and meet deliverables with their own strategies. In the case of telecommuting, this is essential where employees are expected to be productive even without in-person supervision.

For working parents, this allows them to manage their work and parental responsibilities more effectively by focusing on task completion instead of chasing after work hours.

Set Clear Expectations

As managers, it is necessary to clearly define job roles and expectations so everyone is clear on what is expected of them – day in and day out. HR professionals also contribute to transparency when explaining job roles while interviewing candidates.

This helps with work-life balance because you are able to give your employees an achievable workload that won’t cause them to become overworked and highly stressed.

On-Site Childcare Services

Working parents with toddlers or young children can find it difficult to focus on work if they do not have someone to take care of their child during work hours. This is where on-site childcare services can be very helpful.

By offering this benefit, working parents can worry less about their children and focus more on their work. This also allows them to tend to their child’s concerns quickly when needed.

Sponsor Fun Activities

Highly stressed employees can easily get demotivated and burned out, which can lead to poor performance and further unwanted attrition. Companies can often combat this by sponsoring fun non-work-related activities.

These can come in many different forms such as on or off-site team-building activities, sports events, company parties, and more. For your working parents, perhaps consider including activities that involve their families. By working with the HR Department, managers can organize these regular activities to boost morale and make the company a more fun place to work in.

Prioritize Physical Wellness

COVID-19 has put a spotlight on health and well-being, but even without the pandemic, it is well known that employee health directly affects performance and morale. You can prioritize physical well-being by offering gym benefits, and / or healthy meals and snacks in the office cafeteria, and more.

By encouraging physical wellness, employees can be energized, manage stress better, and be more productive. For working parents, this means having the physical capacity to handle work and family duties at the same time.

Give Time for Volunteer Work

Volunteer work has major benefits on a person’s health and well-being, and can positively impact work-life balance. Giving of one’s time creates a greater sense of fulfillment and can be a motivating force for employees especially if the company they work for is socially responsible. It makes employees feel good about themselves and the company they are in.

Also, companies that are active members of their communities are found to be better able to attract and retain Millennials and Gen-Z employees. Having an established volunteer program is something that managers and HR can leverage in both recruitment and organizational development programs. Perhaps consider an external volunteer event that can double as a team building exercise?

Encourage Use of Paid Time-Off

For working parents, getting vacation time with the family is what makes family bonds grow stronger and deeper. Encourage employees to use their paid time-off of work to give them time to breathe and step away from the stress and pressures of work.

However, there may be cases that 2 weeks in a year are not enough to de-stress. In such instances, allow some extra time-off to make sure your employees can recuperate and find the balance they need to remain productive and happy in the workplace.

Practice What You Preach

None of the points I made will mean a thing if the managers themselves don’t practice work-life balance. As a company manager or leader, you are a role model for the culture you want to set, and for balancing work and life. Leading by example is one of the best things you can do to encourage the same with your employees. If you have a family, it becomes more important as employees are able to see how the company leadership values their own family time.

Building a culture that encourages work-life balance begins with the managers and leaders. And since work-life balance takes on a different definition for each employee, it’s important to stay in tune with what they value and this is especially true with your working parents. Establishing a great work-life balance culture will manifest benefits to your business through exemplary employee performance, more efficient recruitment, greater employee retention and ultimately the success of your business.

About the author…

Carlos Acosta leads The QualiFind Group’s professional and technical recruiting practice. With more than 22 years of experience recruiting within the Americas, he has led and managed a broad range of challenging recruitment assignments.

Carlos has dual citizenship in both the US and Mexico, is bilingual English and Spanish and brings a multicultural approach to supporting client’s need for talent.

For further information, contact Carlos at 619-240-2638 or cacosta@qualifindgroup.com