Whilst October may be more famous for Halloween, there is another event taking place we should all be aware of.  National Work Life Week takes place between 7th and 11th October and is an annual campaign, run by Working Families, to encourage both employers and employees to talk about wellbeing at and work, and the work life fit.

Why is it important?

Did you know that, according to Working Families, there are 13 million working mothers and fathers?  This makes up more than one third of the UK workforce.

Despite these employees being a vital addition to the running of companies up and down the country, working life is rarely designed to support family life at home.  For example, the working day is often scheduled to start at 9am, and finish at 5pm.  However, schools usually don’t open their doors until 8.50am, and children are normally sent home at 3.15pm.

This means parents often have to find alternative childcare arrangements to ensure their children are looked after outside of standard school opening hours.  They may be able to rely on a friend, neighbour or family member.  Alternatively, they’re likely to have to enrol their youngsters in Breakfast Club or After School Clubs.  Whilst schools may be in the position to offer these services, they cannot do so without a charge.  All of which means there is an additional cost to simply attending work for these employees.

That’s not to suggest employers should provide employees with additional funds purely because they are parents, but having a more relaxed attitude towards the working day, may prove beneficial.  Especially for those who have conflicting commitments at the start and end of their day.  It’s certainly something employers should at least be conscious of, and prepared to discuss – which is one of the reasons for the Work Life Week.  Merely to raise awareness, and to get conversations started.

Many parents also often feel they have been unable to accept a promotion purely because they are parents.  Such a promotion may require additional commitment to the company, perhaps working longer hours, or even resulting in increased travel.  None of which are conducive to a happy and contented home environment.

The problem here is that careers can often stagnate, pay does not increase despite the fact that, with a growing family, personal costs rise exponentially.

What can employers do?

Whilst it is not the responsibility of an employee to provide staff with the perfect life, there is considerably more that can be done to ensure that work is not making their life harder.

The Work Life Week is a fantastic opportunity for employees to get together with their staff and discuss what more can be done to help ensure there is a greater sense of balance for all employees.

Over the coming weeks we will be discussing various initiatives, incentives and ideas that employers can use to help increase esteem, motivation and productivity at work.

Remember, we are People Matters because YOUR people matter.  Don’t hesitate to get in touch to find out more about the ways we can help with employee engagement and change management.