Resources

IFSEL Blog

Supporting Parent and Caregiver Well Being in the Workplace

Check In

Supporting Parent and Caregiver Well Being in the Workplace

by:

Nick Haisman-Smith

&

It's increasingly challenging for working parents to compartmentalize their family lives while engaging in professional endeavors, especially with the shift towards remote work and disruptions in childcare routines. From low-level concerns about their children's daily well-being to grappling with significant life events like relationship strains or loss, parents often find themselves navigating a dual existence, balancing personal and professional responsibilities. Add to this the ever more polarized political and social world in which we live, and there is a strong case to be made for finding new and more effective ways to support working parents. 

Research supports the notion that integrating parent and caregiver support systems within workplace environments can significantly enhance employee well-being, satisfaction, and overall productivity (Allen et al., 2013; Grandey et al., 2012). By acknowledging and actively supporting the multifaceted roles of parents, businesses not only cultivate a more empathetic and inclusive culture but also foster a conducive environment for sustained productivity and engagement (Wayne et al., 2017; Barling et al., 2015).

Here are three key strategies backed by research to support the emotional health of parents in the workplace, ultimately benefiting both employees and businesses alike:

Launch a Working Parents Group

  • Encouraging the formation of parent-centric forums and groups provides a dedicated space for employees to connect, share experiences, and seek support from peers facing similar challenges (Kossek et al., 2017). These platforms, whether in-person or virtual, serve as invaluable resources for exchanging parenting strategies, discussing concerns, and fostering a sense of community among colleagues (Rothbard & Edwards, 2003). Moreover, such initiatives contribute to higher levels of job satisfaction and organizational commitment among participating employees (Kossek & Ozeki, 1998). 

IFSEL offers parent and caregiver support workshops focusing on a range of themes and topics. Experiential and highly practical, these workshops can be offered online or in person to parents and caregivers in any organization or setting. 

Provide Support Across Parenting Stages:

  • Recognizing that parenting challenges extend beyond infancy and early childhood, businesses should offer support programs tailored to the diverse needs of parents at different stages of their children's development (Lam, 2018). Whether navigating the transition to school or adolescence, parents require ongoing assistance and resources to effectively balance work and family responsibilities (Duxbury et al., 1994). Implementing initiatives such as workshops, seminars, and parental leave policies tailored to varying parental needs fosters a culture of inclusivity and support (McDonald et al., 2020).

Model Empathy and Compassion:

  • Cultivating a culture of empathy within the workplace is paramount for fostering understanding and support among team members (Dutton et al., 2006). By actively listening, validating emotions, and refraining from judgment or unsolicited advice, organizations can create an environment where employees feel valued and respected (Eisenberger et al., 2019). Research indicates that empathetic leadership is positively associated with employee well-being, job satisfaction, and organizational citizenship behaviors (Dutton et al., 2014; Rego et al., 2017).

Prioritizing the emotional well-being of working parents and caregivers not only enhances individual resilience and job satisfaction but also contributes to overall organizational success (Kossek & Thompson, 2016). By embracing strategies that accommodate the unique challenges faced by parents, businesses can foster a culture of empathy, support, and inclusivity, thereby creating a workplace where employees thrive both personally and professionally.

References:

  • Allen, T. D., Johnson, R. C., Kiburz, K. M., & Shockley, K. M. (2013). Work–family conflict and flexible work arrangements: Deconstructing flexibility. Personnel Psychology, 66(2), 345-376.
  • Barling, J., Kelloway, E. K., & Frone, M. R. (2015). Handbook of work stress. SAGE Publications.
  • Dutton, J. E., Worline, M. C., Frost, P. J., & Lilius, J. (2006). Explaining compassion organizing. Administrative Science Quarterly, 51(1), 59-96.
  • Eisenberger, R., Karagonlar, G., Stinglhamber, F., Neves, P., Becker, T. E., Gonzalez-Morales, M. G., & Steiger-Mueller, M. (2019). Leader–member exchange and affective organizational commitment: The contribution of supervisor’s organizational embodiment. Journal of Applied Psychology, 104(6), 763-778.
  • Grandey, A. A., Fisk, G. M., & Steiner, D. D. (2012). Must “service with a smile” be stressful? The moderating role of personal control for American and French employees. Journal of Applied Psychology, 97(6), 302-318.

Learn More

Supporting Parent and Caregiver Well Being in the Workplace

Preschool

K-3

3 - 6

Middle School

High School

Adult

Working parents face increasing challenges in balancing personal and professional responsibilities, especially with remote work and disruptions in childcare, necessitating supportive workplace environments to enhance employee well-being and productivity. Research suggests t...

More InfoDownload

Supporting Parent and Caregiver Well Being in the Workplace

Website

Article

Podcast

Book

Research

Video

Preschool

K-3

3 - 6

Middle School

High School

Adult

Working parents face increasing challenges in balancing personal and professional responsibilities, especially with remote work and disruptions in childcare, necessitating supportive workplace environments to enhance employee well-being and productivity. Research suggests t...

See More
325 Sharon Park Dr., Suite 845
Menlo Park, CA 94025
USA