Finding a balance between work and family life is an issue faced by many working parents, and how their employer handles this is critical to determining their happiness (or dissatisfaction) at work. Workplaces are increasingly offering flexible working environments that consider employees’ family situations and noticing positive results company-wide. Employers can get better performance, engagement and productivity from these employees when they offer them the support that they require. Here are tips for making family-friendliness a core characteristic of your workplace culture.

Flexible Working Conditions
It’s not a new idea, but it’s one that will continually evolve. Allowing parents flexibility in their work, both in terms of hours and location, can greatly reduce the disruption that could otherwise be caused by absence due to parental responsibilities. Accommodating remote working during school holidays or when a child is ill, allows for work to carry on and deadlines to be met. Cloud-based solutions are a worthy investment when looking to improve workplace flexibility. Similarly, flexitime can bypass issues such as school drop-offs and pick-ups, and provide parents with the opportunity to work full days without disruption. Many businesses already realise that they need to move on from the standard 9-5 day; what is stopping employees from doing their job using a different timeframe?

Family Employee Well-Being Benefits
Many organisations offer voluntary employee benefits such as gym membership, staff awards, shopping vouchers, discounted products or services, often through websites. New to the market is InsureWithMax offering ChildMax, a low-cost insurance policy that pays an employee’s salary for a year if their child suffers a serious illness or major accident. In a recent survey commissioned by InsureWithMax, the findings revealed that 58% of working parents placed a serious illness and an accident resulting in a head injury as their top two child-related worries.

There was also a significant difference between different groups’ belief in whether they would give up work, with males being far less likely to give up work than females. Only 36% of males would give up their job if their child became seriously unwell or suffered an accident, compared to 51% of females. Working mums are a valued segment of any workforce and organisations want to hold onto them, but it can often be difficult to find solutions that alleviate child illness financial worries whilst giving them the security to build a prosperous career. Clearly, if an employee feels that their organisation cares about their financial wellness, then their loyalty, engagement and commitment are likely to be far higher. Conversely, elder care benefits are on the rise with many employees finding themselves needing to offer support (financially, emotionally and physically) to their own ageing parents, but lacking the time and resources to do so; it’s going to grow in importance in the coming years.

Family Oriented Social Events
Family picnics and fun days out to which employees can bring their partners and children are a great way of building bridges, not only giving the right messages but also positively mixing family and work life. Employees will feel a renewed sense of loyalty and contentment within their company knowing that their family commitments are recognised and valued on a wider scale.

Offering a family-friendly culture and image benefits all parities taking part. Improving employee wellbeing and satisfaction both in and outside the workplace is known to have a positive impact on productivity and quality of work. Elevating the ‘family’ members, as part of the work balance helps employees to improve their own work-life balance which is central to any successful organisation.

Family Friendly Rewards

Here are a range of family reward ideas that could be suitable for anyone who’s part time employee, part time carer, gudardian, cleaner, cook, taxi driver and events co-ordinator!

Family friendly gift cards

Gift cards offer choice and are an ideal way to ensure that money goes back into the family. Obvious choices could be a children’s retailer, a gift card that allows a day out or experience (perhaps a cinema trip, experience day or similar) or a gift card for a holiday provider. Consider Book Vouchers, National Trust membership and also experience day providers like Into The Blue and Red Letter Days.

Discounted supermarket vouchers

There was a real explosion of interest in vouchers for supermarkets during the worst of the recession where many people ‘banked’ money onto gift cards to spend on groceries. Often, a slight discount made this a really enticing offer. You may wish to consider the ability to purchase cards at discount, or to investigate a platform where you can add funds to a supermarket gift card. Consider brands like Tesco and Sainsburys who have a very strong presence and are likely to be reached by many employees wherever they live.

Work from home perks

Work from home is a growing way of life for many businesses, but for yours, it may be seen as a ‘reward’ that is earned. Of course, trust is indeed earned. You may want to consider work from home if you have the tech that can ensure the experience is seamless and not stressful!

Care and childcare

This sits more in your traditional benefits package, but it’s well worth having a look at how you reward- especially with the 2017 taxable changes to benefits. Speak to a trusted advisor about how the changes will impact those already receiving perks in this area, and the considerations of setting up a new scheme.

Family days 

A family fun day can be a very interesting perk for families with children of any age. Rewards that involve boozy post work catch ups, tropical holidays or prizes of gadgets are all great – but might not be as enticing as a promise of a full family day at a purpose built venue that will allow everyone to get together, without money or entertainment worries.

Availability to gift rewards and perks 

A reward platform that allows ‘friends and family’ options feels much more inclusive. Maybe it offers insurance for the family gadgets, travel discounts or reduced prices on daily purchases?

Takeaway Discounts

We all know about the idea of a supermarket gift card – but a takeaway gift card feels luxe and helpful – no more cooking! Why not investigate the best way to offer this, perhaps purchasing in bulk, or looking at a dedicated reward platform?

The ability to withdraw cash 

Whilst you may like to give a physical item, another consideration could be a platform that allows the employee to bank up points and exchange or withdraw cash.

Peer to peer gifting / recognition 

It’s also well worth considering, if you have a lot of people on part time, flex time or similar contracts if peer- to -peer gifting and reward could be beneficial. By having an open forum for thanks based on ‘real life interactions’ you may get the very best from your workforce. This can also be tied to monetary rewards.