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According to the Pew Research Center, 46% of United States Households have two working parents.  That means nearly half of all households must find a way to balance the high demands of a full-time work schedule with the high demands of parenting.  Moreover, on the other side of the fence, employers must also learn how to adapt their workplaces to be more inclusive for working parents if they want to reap the benefits of their talents.  

How do they accomplish that? These ideas offer food for thought.

Offer Flexibility

Between calls from school that a child is sick, routine doctors appointments, and after-school responsibilities there are many demands outside of the office parents need to keep up with.  Outside demands, however, don’t mean a working parent isn’t able to offer a valuable contribution to the office; they merely mean parents might need to function by a less than traditional schedule.

Flexible work hours (or shorter work hours) allow working parents to give their best in both arenas.  They allow a parent to be fully present while at work and fully present when they are required to be with their children — a situation where everyone wins.

Create a Caring Culture

Parents need to know that although their jobs are an enormous responsibility, their employer cares about the well-being of their family as well.  Mothers especially worry about how their employers will respond to their need to attend to their children, sometimes during business hours. 

Employers can make parents feel more welcome by fostering a caring culture for parents inside of their businesses.  Encouraging supervisors to ask about the status of employees’ families, limiting night and weekend responsibilities, and offering flexibility when schools are out of session are a few ideas that can foster a caring culture.

Consider Both Parents

When creating policies for parents in the workplace, it is important to remember that dads are part of the equation too.  Although some employers have implemented innovative ideas and practices that help working mothers, many fathers have no parental benefits.  Employers who genuinely want to be all-inclusive and welcoming to parents should make all parental policies applicable to both mothers and fathers. 

Talented individuals who are also parents have a lot to offer the workplace; they need the opportunity to do it in a way that works for them.  Remember, giving parents (or any employees) benefits to help them balance their work and personal lives will enable them to deliver more back to the company in the long-run. Follow these ideas for how to adapt the workplace for working parents and see where they lead you.