Managing Working Parents

Creating a Flexible, Happy Workforce

Executive assistant taking notes on telephone.

Learn how to get the best from the working parents on your team.

© iStockphoto/Synergee

Michael is one of your most talented team members: he's dedicated and innovative, and he never misses a deadline. However, due to family obligations, he wants to leave work every day at 3 p.m. to collect his children from school.

Michael has asked to come in earlier, or to work at home in the evenings, to make up for this lost time, but you have to deny his request. Although your organization does have a flexitime policy in place, you need him to work office hours so that he can take inbound calls and attend meetings with clients in person. A few months later, he leaves your organization for a company that offers him flexible working hours.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that 58 percent of families have two working parents. In the U.K., the Office of National Statistics puts this number at 53 percent. With these figures, and with single-parent households included as well, several people in your team may be working parents.

Parents in the workforce face challenges and time constraints that other professionals might not experience. Organizations need to support working parents, or they might find that they lose them to companies with more family-friendly policies. Also, you'll get better work from working parents who are positive and highly-motivated, and who believe that the organization is "on their side."

In this article, we'll look at how you can get the best from the working parents on your team. We'll also look at how organizations can get a fair deal, too.

The Challenges of Working Parents

Professionals with children face a number of challenges.

For example, typical

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