The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted work and family life in various crucial ways across the U.S. While organizations have been practicing social responsibility for several years now, the pandemic has brought key workplace improvement areas across the corporate world into sharper focus. As a result, more employers have now increased their support to caregiving employees to ensure a more balanced work and family life.
As you join other employers and stakeholders in celebrating the National Work and Family Month in Ventura County, you do well to enact more family-friendly policies in your workplace. These can help ease the burden on employees struggling with increased responsibilities at work and home in the pandemic era. By supporting a healthier work-family life balance, you also make your organization more attractive to existing and future employees.
What Is National Work and Family Month?
Corporate organizations, employees, government agencies, and other stakeholders have been celebrating National Work and Family Month since the U.S. senate established it in 2003. The event is observed in October every year, and it serves to raise awareness for businesses across the country to create healthier and more flexible workplaces. As they adopt family-friendly workplace policies, organizations are encouraged to cater to the unique needs and challenges faced by each employee.
Tips to Make Your Business More Supportive
Here are some key practices you can adopt to provide better support to caregiving employees and working parents in your organization:
1. Make More Room for Caregivers
Parents taking care of their young children or other family members merit special consideration in your plans to create a more family-friendly work environment. Mothers are particularly vulnerable when working for an organization that doesn’t accommodate the unique challenges of motherhood. If you’re striving to boost inclusivity in your workplace, adding caregiving women to your strategic plan can make a world of difference. You can make it a key component of corporate social responsibility to your community by hiring more women with dependents and providing them with the support they need to thrive both at home and work.
2. Provide Equal Family Care and Sick Leave Protections
Equal family care and sick leave support mean that working women who take time off to care for their children are well compensated. When schools closed due to COVID-19, many previously working women had to stay home to take care of their children. Unfortunately, many of them went without pay as a result.
Statistics show that caregiving mothers don’t enjoy the same level of protection as their male counterparts when they take sick leave:
- 47% of working mothers took unpaid sick leave to tend to their child after school or daycare closure
- 65% of low-income mothers went without pay for the same reason
- 70% of mothers working part-time took unpaid leave for the same reason
You can show support by offering the following to all employees, regardless of gender or sexual orientation:
- At least 24-weeks of fully paid parental leave
- Encouraging workers to take a paid leave when appropriate to narrow the gender pay gap
- Equal sick time and family leave coverage/protection
3. Provide Leadership Training
It’s important that personnel managers, supervisors, and other business leaders in your organization avoid unconscious biases when communicating with caregivers. One way to de-bias superiors is by training them on proper language use during their everyday micro-interactions with employees. For example, managers should realize how insensitive it is to compare family leaves to a vacation.
4. Provide Flexible Work Schedules
In the foreseeable future, more employees will be caring for their aging parents or relatives from the baby boomer generation. Millions of working millennials will have children in the next 10 years or so. To accommodate the significantly distinct needs of these caregiving workers, employers should provide flexible work arrangements. Your options include:
- Supporting remote working
- Letting caregivers work fewer hours or days a week
- Increasing the number of part-time 24-hour work shifts
Why Ventura County Is Ideal for Work-life Balance
Ventura County is a great place to work, own dream home, and raise a happy family. Living in this county comes with a host of perks, including:
· A Robust Economic Base
Ventura boasts a vibrant and stable economy with a broad array of high-yield investment opportunities. Whether you wish to work or start a business in this county, you can venture and thrive in sectors such as manufacturing, advanced technology, travel, hospitality, or agriculture. A talent-rich workforce and great commercial workspaces add to the perfect environment for the success of any type of business in Ventura.
· Great Social Amenities and Schools
You and your family will like it here as there are a ton of recreational areas and great outdoors to experience. At the Ventura Harbor, there are plenty of fun activities you can do, from beach sports to kayaking and pedal boating, as you enjoy the scenic views. You could go to antique shops, picnic sites, or restaurants in your favorite city and create some great memories with your family, including kids.
Besides these amenities, Ventura provides plenty of school and college options for different needs and budgets. The county hosts five college campuses, including the Southern California Institute of Law and Ventura College of Law.
· Decent Housing Options
There are plenty of housing options for your budget and needs, including single-family homes, gated communities, and mobile residential properties. On average, homes in Ventura cost $400 per square foot.
· Reasonable Cost of Living
Ventura County has some of the most affordable places to live in within California. For example, Oxnard has a median income of $72,843 per household and you can buy a home there for as little as $206, 500. The county supports high-end lifestyles too.
Balancing Work and Family Life for All
As you observe this year’s National Work and Family Month, strive to create more family-friendly policies at work. Better still, ensure these policies apply equally to all workers, irrespective of their gender. By creating a flexible workplace, you’ll play a vital role in promoting a healthier work-family life balance for working parents and caregivers.
Looking for assistance in setting up your business in Ventura County? Don’t hesitate to get started! Business Forward Ventura County is a countrywide initiative and business resource hub committed to delivering economic development support for businesses. Contact us today for more information on how we can help