The recession is a time for reflection. According to Vijay Govindarajan in a recent Harvard Business Review blog post, “This is the time for long-term thinking. The best time to prepare for expansion is during recession. Every recession is followed by growth.”
As you use the recession as a time to take stock and reassess your future business goals and the qualities that define your company, think about how to retain your talented employees and how to create a work environment that promotes hard work, dedication, and innovation from all the players on your team. If you want to create a positive workplace, one of the best things you can do is encourage balance through family friendly work practices. Even in industries in which 60+ hour work weeks are the norm, there are ways to improve attitudes and increase motivation, both your own and those of your employees.
1. Offer On-Site Childcare
Whether or not you are a parent, most managers have been in a position to observe how difficult it can be at times to maintain work life balance with small children in the equation. On-site childcare facilities can increase your employees’ time with their children outside of work and can allow them to check in on their little ones during break time or on a lunch hour, making them feel confident and secure in their children’s care and helping them to work in a more focused and efficient manner as a result. Helping parents to feel comfortable that their children are close at hand and receiving the best possible care is not a common benefit, but it is one of the most beneficial family-friendly work practices.
2. Allow Telecommuting
With today’s technology and software innovations, all work does not necessarily need to take place in one unmoving cubicle. Some employees work better outside of the box, and many companies with family-friendly work practices are catching on to the idea of telecommuting in recent years. If possible, allow your employees the flexibility that will increase their effectiveness and improve their work-life balance rather than restricting them to a strict 9 to 5 time clock.
3. Provide Quality Breastfeeding Facilities
Many working parents are working mothers who provide important nutrition to their babies through breastmilk. Not all companies provide quality facilities for women to pump breastmilk in privacy and comfort, and not all women feel comfortable discussing their options with their supervisor. Bathrooms and unlocked offices are not ideal for pumping milk. Promoting healthy breastfeeding can help with employee retention, and it can help decrease absenteeism, since breastfed babies are often healthier and less likely to stay home sick from daycare. It can also reduce healthcare costs for both mother and baby in the long-term.
4. Encourage Paternity Leave
Go beyond the mandates of the Family Medical Leave Act, and discuss leave options with expectant parents under your management, whether they are male or female. Encourage fathers-to-be to develop strong work-life balance in their new family role by not expecting them to return immediately to work and by offering flexible options in the early weeks of their child’s life.