The pandemic has greatly impacted many aspects of our lives, especially for working parents. A survey of about 1,000 mothers by charity organisation Focus on the Family found that 60% rated their stress levels at seven or higher out of 10 in 2020.
As working parents struggle with balancing work, chores, childcare, and social isolation from the Safety Management Measures, many begin to re-evaluate their priorities leading to phenomena such as the Great Resignation and the Great Reshuffle in the last two years.
The message is clear: Work is no longer seen as more important than other aspects of life. With the advent of digitalisation and remote working, workers are now also seeing the possibility of being in a job that allows them to have more control in balancing their work and personal domains.
Why is a family-friendly culture important for you?
In an age where it’s more common to have both parents working full-time, it appears harder than ever for them to allocate time for their children. A recent study revealed that 70% of Singaporean parents with children aged five to eight say they are too busy during the pandemic to enjoy quality time with their kids.
At the same time, many working parents often feel guilty about taking time off from work to attend to or spend time with their children. The constant dilemma of juggling work and family commitments can be very stressful and takes a toll on their mental health in the long term.
Hence, it is important that you find a workplace that fits your lifestyle. For example, if you’re a new parent, you may want to rethink taking a job at a company that requires a lot of overtime as it may disrupt the time you need to care for your newborn.
According to Dr Tracie Lazaroo, a clinical psychologist at Inner Light, a centre that provides clinical psychology and therapy services in Singapore, some classic hallmarks of being in a job that is not the right fit include low motivation, boredom, resentment, and a low sense of self-worth.
This can even lead to more clinical issues such as anxiety and depression.
Having said this, a family-friendly workplace would be a win-win situation for both employers and employees. A workplace that cultivates a supportive work environment creates a more trusting relationship between both parties and ultimately contributes to better productivity.
What makes a family-friendly work culture?
A company with a family-friendly culture supports its employees and makes it easier for them to balance family and work responsibilities. The management considers its employees’ personal needs and laid out policies on how to support them better. You can deduce the culture of the company by its policies, values, and compensation and benefits packages.
How family-friendly policies are rolled out will vary from company to company. It may be as simple as setting aside one day of each month where employees are allowed to end work earlier to spend time with their families, or it can even be as comprehensive as providing monetary benefits such as baby cash, adoption assistance, and childcare support to ease the costs associated with building a family.
If you’re currently looking for a company with family-friendly policies, here are three terms that you should familiarise yourself with:
1. Flexible Work Arrangements (FWAs)
As the word, flexible suggests, FWAs refer to the time factor where the work is being done by the employee. Outside of conventional working hours, an employer may provide concessions such as flexi-hours, part-time and telecommuting.
2. Leave benefits
A company with a family-friendly policy may offer additional leave benefits on top of government-mandated ones to its employees. Examples of these are birthday leaves, unrecorded childcare leaves, and longer maternity and paternity leaves.
3. Employee support schemes
These are benefits that can help employees manage their lives outside of work, such as health and wellness. For working parents, childcare subsidies can be very helpful in alleviating financial stress.
Jobseeking: It is OK to be picky
Looking out for a family-friendly workplace is not idealistic. As it stands, the government recognises the advantages of promoting work-life balance and family-friendly workplaces.
Last year, the Ministry of Manpower, together with the Singapore National Employers Federation and National Trades Union Congress launched the Tripartite Standard on Work-Life Harmony to encourage businesses to improve their remote work policies and other initiatives to support their employees.
If you’re thinking of making a career switch, check out Career GRIT by Workforce Singapore to prepare yourself for the next lap of your career journey.
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Here’s a list of articles that we’ve compiled to help you learn more about family-friendly work culture.