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Many organisations have specific policies to help support working parents, and this usually centres around parental leave following the birth of a child and then a subsequent return to the workplace. However, following the return from leave, many parents feel they need to show their commitment to their work and company and thus downplay their commitments to their children or risk being side lined from important decision-making processes or promotions. This lack of support or accommodating attitude can cause a higher turnover rate or a significant dip in productivity and morale. In recognition of National Parents’ Day, we want to look at the three ways in which you can support working parents on your team and how this will not only benefit them but will also benefit the team too!
It can be hard enough to juggle a full-time career in finance and accounting with professional development requirements to earn and/or maintain ACA, ACCA, CIMA qualifications, on top of ensuring all deadlines are completed on time and sometimes for multiple financial projects, audit, tax and/or reporting! But when you add the highly pressured time and project management energies it takes to raise and organise a child (or multiple children) too, some of the challenges that face parents today become clear. These usually include:
Feeling over-tired or burnt out
Time constraints when juggling half term and holidays
Stress and anxiety from having the dual priorities of work and children
Whilst not an exhaustive list, these three factors can impact an employee’s productivity and even commitment to your organisation and team if there isn’t a support system to help them manage work and parenthood.
After the Coronavirus outbreak many organisations in the UK have recognised the importance of accommodating flexible and/or remote working. Employers now have empirical evidence that employees are able to maintain productivity and communication levels over extended periods of time whilst working from home.
Offering flexibility can be the best way to support a parent on your team --you accommodate both their life and boost their confidence that you trust them to work autonomously away from the office. Video conferencing and frequent contact with their line managers will help reassure both parties that your remotely working parent is still a part of the team and contributing in a timely manner – whilst still being able to look after their children. It’s a win-win situation.
It’s important for all employees to feel like they can talk about their successes and challenges with their line managers or HR, particularly when it relates to their productivity or the quality of their work. Making it clear that parents on your team can talk about their children will help them feel secure that the parenting part of their lives is just as important. Asking questions, listening to funny stories and generally letting parents know that their children are a welcome topic on the team will help reduce feelings of stress and anxiety in keeping them separate and in turn, improve performance.
Being aware of a parent’s schedule or particular needs will also help them feel supported; if you know they need to leave early to pick kids up from school, schedule all meetings or calls for the mornings so your working parents don’t have to compromise on either part of their life.
It can be hard for an employer to encourage employees to prioritise activities outside of work, but by creating a culture within your team that is able to leave work at work and embrace their lives, you’ll have more well-rounded staff. They’ll have better balance in their lives and be able to cope with stressful situations better, and this can include their kids - they may come to view work as the relaxing space away from the chaos and noise of their children!
At Edward Mann, we would be happy to offer bespoke support to help you accommodate working parents on your team. With our database and deep networks we are also able to source high-calibre candidates to suit the specific needs of your business goals to make sure you don’t miss out in the future.