5 Family-Friendly Perks That Working Parents Love

Last week, we talked about how seven different companies help employees balance work and family. Now we’ve got some tips on how you can make your workplace a haven for working parents.

Companies offer family-friendly perks because they know that a stressed employee is a distracted employee and a happy employee is loyal and productive. Steps as inexpensive and simple as offering telecommuting options or rethinking meeting schedules can make a huge difference to the parents in your workplace.

Take a look at some of the tips below to see if they could work for your organization.

How to Make Your Office Family Friendly

1. Host Family Events

If you want to make your office more family friendly but don’t have much of a budget, never fear. Family-friendly holiday parties, monthly outdoor games, and even potlucks can go a long way in creating a welcoming environment.

At Twilio, a communication-software company, every Wednesday is family-dinner night. Employees invite their spouses and children to the weekly company potluck. It’s become an event everyone looks forward to and a big part of Twilio’s overall culture. The company is also developing a larger family program with work-life balance speakers and a take-your-child-to-work day.

2. Make Meeting and Team-Building Times Work for Parents

Employees who have to drop off their kids at school by 9 a.m. are going to have trouble with an 8:30 meeting. Parents taking older kids to after-school jobs or programs can’t always stay in 4:30 meetings that run long. Encourage anyone scheduling meetings to consider the needs of all attendees.

The same goes for team building.

After-five bonding activities aren’t always an option for parents. If your team has a monthly dinner, for example, consider changing it to lunch. You can also move after-work activities that usually start at 6 to 5.

3. Offer Flexible Schedules

Telecommuting can help everyone from an expectant as she deals with morning sickness to parents who have to take a teenager to the DMV for a driving exam.

If you’re concerned about telecommuters slacking on the job, remember that employees working remotely are often more productive than those in the office. Messaging systems like Slack make it easy to stay in touch with remote employees. Plus, project management software can help remote employees stay accountable.

It doesn’t need to be all or nothing. Highfive, the video-conferencing startup, has a “No Meeting Wednesday” policy to make it easier for employees to work from home that day. As a compromise, other organizations allow employees one or two telecommuting days a week.

Of course, it’s one thing to implement a flex-schedule policy, but it’s another to change the attitudes around it. Make sure that managers are on board with policy changes. Otherwise, even if your employer puts the policy in place, people may still get eye rolls when leaving early to pick up the kids, which leads to workers feeling too nervous to use a perk added for their benefit.

If the kind of work your employees do won’t allow for telecommuting (manufacturing, service-industry roles, etc.), providing different shifts might also help take off the strain, notes Jeff Griffin at JP Griffin Group. Shifts from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. or 9:30 to 5:30 could make a huge difference to working parents.

4. Provide On-Site Day Care

More private-sector businesses have started offering on-site day care to accommodate Millennials as they reach their thirties and start families.

If you get a little stressed at the thought of dealing with reviews, regulations, and other hurdles that can come with on-site day cares, you have plenty of other options. In 2019, family care solutions run the gamut from pre-tax paycheck deductions for day care to tuition discounts for specific day-care centers.

5. Offer Online Marketplaces

Breaking news: Kids are expensive.

Thanks to online employee marketplaces, you can help the parents at your workplace handle some of the costs that come with children. With exclusive deals on a range of products and services, online employee marketplaces make it easy for working parents to increase the value of their paychecks. These marketplaces can help employees save on family vacations, back-to-school supplies, tutoring services, and more.

Since the platforms have unique deals not available outside the workplace, they can also improve retainment.

By creating a family-friendly office, you’re helping the parents in your organization perform at their best. You’re also helping your employer improve retainment and attract more talent. Parents managing that work/life balance stay loyal to companies that understand the struggle is real.

In the comments section, tell us about the kind of family-friendly policies you’d like to see.