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Is a Family-Friendly Workplace Realistic?

family friendly workplaceFinding a healthy work-life balance is notoriously hard to achieve – especially when “life” includes a family with a significant other and kids (who of course come with responsibilities, activities, more activities, and more responsibilities… you get the idea!).

So the question is: Can companies realistically help their employees find better work-life balance by making their workspace more family-friendly?

There are pros and cons to this. On the positive, of course it is important to help your employees who have families to be as efficient at work and at home as possible. But the (often) unspoken reality is that company-initiated programs to support employees with families can sometimes create bitterness or frustration in those employees who don’t have families. You hear stories all the time about employees who feel like they have to “stay late” or make up” for people who are leaving to pick up their kids.

So what’s an employer to do?

I believe that when it comes to helping employees find work-life/family balance, employers need to find a balance of their own.

Enter this Fast Company article, which helpfully breaks down four quick way companies can REALLY help build a family-friendly workplace, and I think it does a nice job of finding this balance. The article identifies broad approaches with tactical ways to bring them to life – and on the surface, they seemingly would help without alienating those employees to whom these programs do not apply.

Here’s a snapshot of Fast Company’s Family-Friendly workplace tips:

  1. Rethink schedules
  2. Respect boundaries
  3. Create a community
  4. Open communication

Now, as is usually the case, you need to read the article for more insight into each of these tips.

But the end message is clear – helping employees find a healthy work-life/family balance can truly add to a positive workplace culture. It’s all about finding balance in how the company goes about it.