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4 Family-Friendly Workplace Perks That Attract and Retain New Parents

Inclusivity is a necessary part of the corporate world, and programs that include new parents are seeing growth in businesses. We no longer live in a one-income world. It used to be that the children were home with their mother while their father set off to work each day. Today, young children are often sent to daycare while both their parents work. This is not only emotionally problematic, being away from your children all day, it’s also costly.

Thankfully, businesses are recognizing the importance of attracting and retaining new parents, and family-friendly perks are being created in organizations. Below are a few ideas that organizations can use to make parents feel seen.

1. Build a Playground

Children love playgrounds — the excitement of the swings, the fun of the slides, the thrill of the jungle gym. Children can’t get enough! What better way to encourage parents to bring their children to the office than by building a playground they can use. Make it big, complete with swing sets, monkey bars, and a rock wall. Consider the ages of the children who will be visiting as well. You might include a sandbox (with cover!) and spring riders with fun animals for younger children.

Parents can connect with their children on a playground. But the nice thing about playgrounds is that even adults can benefit from them. Imagine your employees enjoying lunch outdoors on a sunny day while sitting on the swings. They will return to work feeling relaxed and refreshed. Coworkers can race to the top of the rock wall to see who gets bragging rights. Teams can connect with each other using play, as well.

2. Offer Onsite Childcare

Your employees work hard to earn their pay. Unfortunately, parents spend an average of 18.6% of their income, or around $325 per week, on childcare. Offering onsite childcare alleviates the financial burden of paying for a babysitter or daycare. Provide a service that is not just watching the children, but offering early education and hands-on activities. Young children are sponges, and they absorb new knowledge easily.

Parents will truly appreciate the ability to visit with their children throughout the workday. They can take them to lunch or just visit for a minute while on a break. Young children will love being able to see mom or dad instead of having to wait eight hours in daycare. Spending time with their parent helps build strong bonds. Plus, it will ease a child’s fears knowing their parent is nearby.

3. Designate a Lactation Room

Mothers who wish to continue breastfeeding while returning to the workforce sometimes struggle. A new mother may be expressing milk to bring home to her baby. Or she could be breastfeeding her newborn while making use of onsite childcare. Unfortunately, breastfeeding mothers may be unable to find a private location in the office to express milk. And that location too often is not private (a conference room) or unsanitary (the work bathroom!).

A private lactation room shows that your company is committed to your working mothers. When done right, lactation rooms offer a comfortable, sanitary, fully-private location complete with a fridge for storing breast milk. The last thing you want is a mother resorting to unsanitary locations to pump milk. You’ll see a spike in absenteeism in that situation, regardless of whether your employee or her child becomes sick. To show you care and value your employee, provide her with her own safe space within the office to care for her needs.

4. Provide Sleep Support

New parents are often shell-shocked by the realities of bringing a newborn into their lives, particularly as they try to balance taking care of their baby and getting enough sleep. Most parents can agree that lack of sleep comes with the territory. Thankfully there are things that can be done to help alleviate the problem. When a company offers sleep consultants to help new parents, both the parents and the company benefit.

Consultants can teach parents how to get their baby to sleep on a good schedule. They also offer techniques for a restful night’s sleep for parents themselves. With sleep-help available, companies are ensured a wide-awake and focused employee.

Another option is offering sleep spots for tired employees. Short, power naps improve alertness and may even improve the health of the individual. Google, Ben & Jerry’s, and Zappos all provide nap rooms for their employees — new parents or not. A nap area would benefit new parents who are struggling with the sleep schedules of the tiny humans they care for.

Supporting New Parents in the Workforce

Parents may feel unsupported in the workforce. Too often, what they can give is more important than what they get. But you can flip the script on how new parents are treated. You’ll find that they not only feel supported, but they will happily be even more productive.

New parents may be struggling under their responsibilities. However, companies can provide physical, emotional, and financial support just when a parent needs it the most. Parents will feel more alert during the workday. They’ll feel respected as contributing employees. And they’ll have the opportunity to have fun and bond with their little ones at the office. The choice to start a family shouldn’t interfere with one’s work, nor should work be more important than family. Strike a perfect balance and watch as parents flourish.

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