Why it's important to support working parents
Life can be incredibly fulfilling as a working parent, but it isn’t always easy. Parents everywhere are performing the ultimate juggling act by combining their work and life hours to create a routine that works for both their careers and families.
Employers have a reasonability to create a working environment that’s easy for parents to be part of. Having benefits available such as flexible working, paid maternity/paternity leave, on-site childcare, and childcare coverage can really help.
Parenting is an 18-year job that affects men, women, adoptive and biological parents, parents with new-borns and teenagers, all in various different ways and organisations should think about crafting policies accordingly.
We asked Nick Yarham, Senior Recruitment Manager at Sanderson Government & Defence, about what supporting working parents means to him.
“I’ve been lucky enough to have been managed by some inspirational and thought-provoking leaders and, thinking back, they all had one thing in common – every single one of them was a working parent. At the time of writing, my two ‘children’ are 22 and 20, both of them living away from home due to work and study commitments, so my time is generally spent on domestic issues like fixing leaky taps or replenishing dwindling funds!
“I know that the challenges of being a parent are one of the most difficult, yet rewarding, things we face as an adult. I owe a huge debt to my managers for their help and support over the years, as we navigated the choppy waters of bringing up our children; from turning up at the office following sleepless nights to making emergency trips to nursery or school to pick up a poorly child, from ferrying them around to dance class or football training, to attending school assembly or sports day.
“My role in recruitment has never been a traditional ‘9-to-5’ routine, and knowing I had the full trust and flexibility to get my job done and deliver the results, alongside being a busy parent, was absolutely priceless. I’ve carried this mantra with me as a manager and have been rewarded with empowered teams, whether they’re working parents or not.”
Job flexibility, alongside fantastic maternity/paternity/parental leave, is probably one of the most valuable benefits an employer can offer. The way we work has certainly changed over the last few years and companies should aim to create an environment that enables flexibility for parents.
A traditional 9-to-5 schedule is unheard of for parents, they don’t just switch off once they get home, so having the flexibility to work from home or work part-time hours can really help them have that work-life balance.
But this flexibility has to fill the culture. Its all 1fair having these policies and benefits but if a parent feels guilty for leaving early for an appointment or another doesn’t fully use their family leave in practice, then who are they helping?
Create a culture where people can be a great employee, alongside being a great parent.