Family-friendly benefits are a new concept to attract and retain key employees. Companies in the past often offered “family days,” like the annual company picnic, but today’s companies go much further in their efforts to help employees with dependents manage their complex schedules.
Make Kids Welcome
Some offices welcome small children, especially on days when schools unexpectedly close. Snow days, half days, teacher conference days — all of these can wreak havoc with parents’ carefully crafted schedules. Instead of watching staff scrambling to find babysitters, many offices simply say “bring the kids in.” As long as children aren’t disruptive and aren’t in danger (as in a factory setting), many offices simply accept the occasional youngster playing in the conference room as par for the course.
Action step: If offering a kid-friendly atmosphere for your office sounds like a good idea, take time to draft a brief policy statement regarding bringing children to the office. For example, is it OK for all workers to do this or only office workers? Can sick children come to work or do you want them to stay home? Do you need advance notice if your employees want to bring children to the office? Will you set aside a conference room for the workers with kids? What is the minimum age you think your office setting can handle? Think through potential issues and draft a policy statement before announcing a child-friendly office policy.
Offer Elder-Care Flex Hours
On the opposite end of the spectrum for the so-called sandwich generation are those who not only have small children at home, but elderly parents they care for too. Enacting a more open flex-hours policy can really help people who may need to take an elderly relative to the doctor or to another appointment.
Consider Family-Friendly Perks
Another way that you can reward employees with small children at home is to offer family-friendly perks: Coupons or gift certificates for ice cream, pizza or a movie are much appreciated, and can be shared with all. Work with local businesses to develop perks that will bring positive results to both your company and the business. Make sure that some perks are offered to all, and then give others only to star employees as performance incentives.
Throw Holiday Family Parties
Opening your office up to families around the holidays is a good opportunity for everyone to get to know one another and for families to relax together. Fourth of July picnics or end-of-year parties are great times to welcome all family members. Invite your single employees to bring a guest of their choice and your married staff members to bring their spouses and children.
Not all work environments are conducive to family-friendly perks. But if you think that a family-friendly policy is right for your company, such perks can be extremely effective when it comes to attracting and retaining great employees.