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3 Ways to Build a Family-Friendly Workplace Culture

In the modern workplace, creating a family-friendly environment is not just a perk; it’s a necessity. More and more families have 2 working parents and as more companies recognise the importance of supporting them in balancing their work and family lives, the concept of a family-friendly workplace culture has gained traction.

Building a family friendly culture isn’t only about employee satisfaction and loyalty, but it also has benefits for the organisation such as boosting productivity, being at the cutting edge attracting the best talent and feeding into the over all success of the company. 

To illustrate this, the key findings from the  “Parents, Work and Care: Striking the Balance Survey 2016” were: 

  • 91 % of parents said it was difficult to combine work and family life 

  • 77% said it was more difficult to progress their career after having children 

  • 63% of parents made changes to their employment after becoming a parent

  • 40% said that parenting was incompatible with senior roles

  • 29% said lack of flexible working patterns was an obstacle to work  In 2014 The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills published “Costs and Benefits to Business of Adopting Work Life Balance Working Practices”, which showed 4 broad positive benefits to organisations who implement work life balance practices.

  1. An increase in productivity. There is a link between the provision of family friendly work life practices and productivity. 

  2. Reduction in absenteeism. Family friendly policies can help employees plan and manage any absences and can also be a tool to enhance well-being and reduce stress and anxiety. 

  3. Talent attraction. A family friendly workplace culture can be a competitive differentiator, attracting quality talent and widening the talent pool to incorporate those who find working patterns to be an obstacle. 

  4. Staff retention. Studies have shown that employees are more likely to be engaged and loyal to their employers when they provide a culture that cares about them. 

Here are three essential ways to cultivate a family-friendly workplace culture:

1. Flexible Work Arrangements

One of the most effective ways to accommodate employees with family responsibilities is by offering flexible work arrangements and listening to what your working parents (and other employees – flexible working can benefit everyone!) want and need. Implementing flexible hours, remote work options, or compressed workweeks can empower employees to manage their time and balance their responsibilities both in and out of work. 

These arrangements don’t only enhance work-life balance, but also demonstrates your trust in the ability of your employees to deliver results without being confined to a rigid schedule.


2. Supportive Policies and Benefits

Policies and benefits tailored to support employees’ family needs are instrumental in fostering a family-friendly workplace culture. These might include:

  • Maternity, paternity, adoption and IVF leave

  • Enhanced parental leave 

  • Additional childcare provision 

  • Flexible and hybrid working 

  • Access to return to work coaching programmes 

As an organisation you can continuously review and update your policies to reflect the evolving needs of your workforce. By demonstrating a commitment to supporting your employees through various life stages, you can attract and retain top talent while cultivating a culture of inclusivity and care.

3. Creating a Supportive Community

Building a supportive community within the workplace can significantly contribute to a family-friendly culture. Encouraging open communication and empathy among team members fosters a sense of belonging and understanding. Managers play a crucial role in leading by example and promoting a culture where employees feel comfortable discussing their family needs without fear of judgment or stigma.

Organising family-friendly events and activities can also strengthen bonds among colleagues and create opportunities for families to engage with one another. Whether it’s hosting a company picnic, organising childcare during meetings, or providing resources for parenting workshops, investing in initiatives that prioritise family well-being reinforces your company’s commitment to its employees beyond the workplace.

Building a family-friendly workplace culture requires a multifaceted approach that integrates flexibility, supportive policies, and a sense of community. By embracing these principles, your organisation can create an environment where employees feel valued, supported, and empowered to thrive both personally and professionally. In doing so, you not only enhance employee satisfaction and retention but also foster a more resilient and productive workforce poised for long-term success.

Please get in touch with us if you’d like to find out more about the coaching solutions, we offer which includes one-to-one, group coaching and line manager training.

My colleague Sarah Turner and I have been busy creating content highlighting the importance of organisations providing support for working parents. As part of this, we created this video series exploring the entire journey of maternity leave, from before the leave starts, through to preparing to return and then the first few months back at work. If you or your organisation would like to understand more about how to support your employees as they take parental leave, please get in touch.  

This blog post is a collaboration between Maternity Coaches Laura Duggal and Sarah Turner. They are working together, sharing their experiences and bringing the best of their joint advice and knowledge to you.

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