Family Friendly Workplaces
COVID-19 opened the eyes of many to the importance of workplace flexibility. Image – Canva
  • A new 'Family Friendly Workplaces' initiative has launched
  • The program will assist employers with creating a family friendly culture
  • The initiative comes as new research finds COVID-19 changed workplace expectations

A new ‘Family Friendly Workplaces’ initiative was launched last week in an endeavour to bridge the work and family divide by introducing national standards

The announcement came in conjunction with National Families Week and is the product of a partnership between UNICEF Australia and Parents at Work.

The initiative is inspired by new research commissioned by Parents at Work which reported post-COVID, Australian’s place a higher value on flexible work arrangements and have an increased understanding of work-life balance.

“Due to COVID-19 the chasm between employees work and home life is no longer invisible, creating expectation and urgency for a transformative change in Australian workplace culture,” Parents at Work CEO, Emma Walsh said.

“The tension between work and family life is no longer something government nor employers can afford to ignore, and if reduced, there is a compelling return on investment that benefits business, individuals and the wider community.”

Emma Walsh, Parents At Work CEO

An Australian first ‘Family Friendly Workplaces’ provides much-needed leadership on policy and practices organisations can utilise to improve inclusion and support for employees struggling with competing work and family needs.

Through a certification framework, companies will be able to claim the ‘Family Friendly Workplace’ title.

The new standards were developed with consultation from community experts and business leaders, giving companies ways to create a family friendly, workplace culture.

The aim is to generate an environment where working families are supported to combine their family and work commitments.

Over 20 major Australian employees have already begun to adopt the freshly launched standards and will become the first certified ‘Family Friendly Workplaces’.

Working from home
‘Family Friendly Workplaces’ aims to create more family-inclusive workplace cultures. Image – Canva

The Parents at Work Research

A survey was conducted of 1000 Australian employees who experienced working from home since the pandemic hit. Parents at Work endorsed the research conducted by PureProfile.

According to 65% of respondents, their work has become more understanding of the work/life juggle post-pandemic. Three in four (74%) reported improved flexible work arrangements.

However, Ms Walsh said the research also highlighted a need for more flexibility to be embedded in companies

“Over half of employees said work and family demands contribute to stress or tension with partners, colleagues, and managers, while 42% reported it affecting their relationships with children.”

“Concerningly, 41% of employees think their commitment to the job will be questioned if they make use of these flexible arrangements. Clearly, there’s a disconnect between employers and working families.”

Employers in the wider business community are being urged to join the change and commit to creating more family-inclusive workplaces.

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