Increasing Visibility to Family-Friendly
Business Policies and Practices
Family-friendly policies that enable employees to achieve a healthy work-life balance in the workplace can result in higher productivity, reduced absenteeism and turnover, increased job satisfaction, and improved organizational effectiveness. And those policies do more than just benefit employees: They also result in stronger, healthier businesses and empower communities to grow and prosper.
Those family-friendly employment policies can vary widely depending on the specific needs of an organization and its workforce: Some may offer flexible working arrangements, telecommuting options, part-time work opportunities or job share agreements. Other organizations may be able to provide a play area for children with safe, age-appropriate toys and materials, reading materials across diverse topics and age ranges in customer areas, and accessible restrooms and baby changing facilities.
There are so many ways to make a difference, says Sonja Koehler, director of the Monterey County Bright Beginnings early childhood Development Initiative, and it begins with looking at the specific needs of both employer and workforce.
Do employers take school bus schedules and school hours into account when setting shift schedules? Could lactating moms have flexible break times to accommodate their needs rather than being locked into a set break time? If an employer has available space, is there an option for an outside childcare provider to set up on the premises? Could an employer adjust the end of a shift so that parents can pick kids up from childcare without accruing late pickup charges? Could employers do more to inform parents of outside childcare options in the community?
There’s no one size fits all, but employers of all types and sizes can benefit from practical, sustainable workplace policies that balance the needs of employees and the organization as a whole.
Monterey County employers can apply for recognition as a Family-Friendly Business through a program introduced in 2017 by Bright Beginnings in conjunction with the Monterey Peninsula Chamber of Commerce and Salinas Valley Chamber of Commerce. About 30 organizations of all sizes and types, including Post Ranch Inn, Sweet Elena’s Bakery, Weathertech Raceway Laguna Seca, Marina Tire and Auto Repair, and the Naval Postgraduate School, have already earned the certification.
It really does take a whole village to raise a child, says Koehler, and recognizing workplace policies is one way to build a community that supports regional well-being.
“It’s a whole systems approach, so it’s not only about child care, pediatricians, and employers,” says Koehler. “It’s also about how we all work together to support children and families because they touch all of our lives. They’re the future workforce and it affects the current workforce, and that’s why it’s everybody’s business.”
To nominate a family-friendly organization, see the application on the Bright Beginnings website.
And hear more from Koehler at MBEP’s 7th Annual State of the Region, as part of a panel discussion on “Childcare is Everybody’s Business.”