If we consider workplace well-being to be simply a reflection of the society we live in - then we will go a long way towards identifying, and then addressing many of the issues that we are currently struggling to grapple with.
People are beautiful, frustratingly complex beings.
Employees should be embraced holistically who bring their best, and in most cases hide their ‘worst’ from you. The pieces of them that are considered to be the worst are those that were never asked for in the job specification – nor do they need to be. Society tells it all.
What we need to remember is that “individuals do not hop back and forth between the unique and distinct social spheres of home and workplace. Rather, they are always workers, mothers, fathers, managers, daughters, administrators, sons, and laborers” (Mennino et al, 2016).
For instance, working-parents with dependent children, who are constantly balancing the work and home domains – should be respected and embraced as working-parents – and not just during their child’s 0-5yrs either.
The parenting role is one that takes precedence above all others. It’s a role that with one phone call from school say, side-lines everything, regardless of pay scale. So, whilst employees do attend work focused, willing and able to do the work they are paid to do – we can easily imagine the response if anything concerning their children - our children - became out of balance.
Right now, in the midst of a pandemic – what we are all aware of is the emotional burden that is being carried by us all. However, let us turn our thoughts to an employee with an older child – a teenager experiencing the second lockdown in 2020.
Not only would they have to carry the burden of uncertainty and fear for themselves – but they also have to be vigilant and responsive to the emotional needs of their children.
We know that the mental health needs are skyrocketing. Predictions given early on in the crisis, were that an extra 10million people would need to access an already stretched mental health service. We can only imagine that this figure has expanded as the months have gone on.
My last call from a parent was about their quiet and anxious daughter who is in their first year at university – having a horrendous time of it (you can CLICK HERE to read some of the advice I shared). The call previous to that was with a parent whose son is struggling at secondary school – again a quiet one- who could have quite easily disappeared under the radar, had we not been working together.
Both parents had struggled at work – because of the distress they felt – feeling helpless to attend to the despair expressed by their children.
It makes sense that work would suffer.
My question always remains – what is more important to a working parent? Work or their child?
This is why it is so important for employers to begin addressing the needs of their employees in a holistic way – that includes support for the family.
If you are an employer and you have been nodding your head as you’ve read these words – then I’m guessing you’re also and employer who understands the importance of providing your working-parent workforce with evidence-based tools that will help them to support their older children.
Evidence-based support that is good for employee well-being and good for business.
If so - do get in touch.
I’d love to share the ways in which I can help you and your team.
Ref: Mennino, Sue Falter, Rubin, Beth A, and Brayfield, April. "Home-to-Job and Job-to-Home Spillover: The Impact of Company Policies and Workplace Culture." Sociological Quarterly 46.1 (2016): 107-35.