Why a parent-friendly work culture works for all

24 July 2019

A staggering number of employees have a parental role, whether they are mothers, fathers, grandparents or guardians. Amy McKenzie, responsible for Business Development at Tétris South Africa, explains how embracing parents and their unique needs can have a positive impact on an entire workforce.

There is much research to prove that happiness at work is a significant contributor to a positive work experience. Companies can no longer only focus on providing space to work, they need to create places that enable people (parents or not) to achieve a rewarding work-life balance.

One of the biggest enablers is flexibility, and the growing popularity of flexible work arrangements is positively influencing the world of work for parents (and all employees). Mobility and the ability to work anywhere, at any time, is a boon for anyone juggling work, family commitments and personal schedules. Knowing that your employer measures your performance by productivity rather than time spent at the office is empowering. With technology today, it’s not only easy to stay connected, but it allows for a much more effective, efficient and constructive way to work.

A healthy office culture is one that allows a parent to come into the office early so that they can leave early to watch their child’s tennis match. In the same vein, a non-parent colleague may prefer to attend a morning gym class and then work later. It’s about creating a balanced, inclusive environment where everyone can thrive.

No more ‘working half-day’ comments! Working parents often feel guilty about not spending enough time with their kids. Break that stigma by openly encouraging employees to manage their time accordingly, whether it be to take a child to a doctor’s appointment or walk the dog before it gets dark.

Knowing your boss has your back makes you want to return the favour. With trust and empowerment comes long-standing dedication. Respecting your employee as a human being with a life outside the office builds strong loyalty. When your workforce feels valued and understood, they will automatically put in the extra effort required to do the best job.

A family-friendly workplace can retain talent. By creating a culture where employees are happier, more engaged, and more productive, their commitment remains firm, and staff turnover is reduced. Similarly, a company supportive of working parents opens its doors to attracting great talent.

On-site child care is another way to promote a parent-friendly culture. Access to quality affordable childcare frees your employees up to focus on the task at hand. In the UK, some co-working spaces offer child-friendly zones or on-site nurseries in a list of features that could also include yoga or networking socials.

A company that visibly encourages a culture of understanding people’s human dimensions, like family commitments (or fitness schedules), sets itself up for success. It has a lot to do with empathy which is core to an overall positive employee experience.