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Careersmother's day iconResearch reveals that conflict between work and family responsibilities is linked to decreased employee productivity and family functioning. Consequently, if an employee (such as a working mother) is forced to make ‘career versus family’ decisions constantly, it is likely that the organisation will suffer as well as the individual, especially if the employee decides to resign.

If companies want to retain employees who have families, they must introduce Family Responsive Work Practices (family friendly policies), which include:

Onsite childcare. Ifday-care centres are established in organisations, employees tend to be more effective at work because they experience decreased parental anxiety and are less stressed about balancing their work and family life.

Flexible schedules. Flexible job timings (the ability to make short-term changes to work schedules) are believed to lower stress, and are ideal for employees responsible for caring for family members or participating in family life (e.g. going to parent-teacher conferences, attending a child’s important events and responding to unplanned family emergencies).

Job sharing. This is a form of part-time employment in which two people share the responsibilities of one regular, full-time position. Employers benefit from having two people with different skills and experiences in a single position, broadening the capabilities of their workforce. Part-time workers tend to be more productive than full-time ones because it is easier to work at peak efficiency for short periods of time.

Compressed work weeks. These create flexibility by allowing an employee to work a traditional 35-40 hour work week in less than five work days. The most common types of compressed work weeks include the 4/10 schedule (four 10-hour days per week) or the 9/80 schedule (80 hours in a two-week period worked over nine days instead of 10).

Ultimately, family-friendly policies make good business sense and demonstrate that businesses can do well by doing good.

– Fauzia Kerai Khan
The writer is Chief Consultant, i&b Consulting,Training, e-Learning. fauzia@iandbconsulting.com

First published in the Careers Section of The DAWN National Weekend Advertiser on May 11, 2014.