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Family life is not simply something that your employees do when they’re away from their desk. A mother remains a mother while she’s attending trade shows, or chairing meetings, or writing up board packs, as does a father and a sister and a son.
And it’s for this reason that globally, many organisations are coming to realise that encouraging their employees’ family life is one of the best ways to attract talent and retain it.

This doesn’t mean that producing high quality work should fall second to every family responsibility, it means that expecting people to be chained to their desks from nine to five, while offering little flexibility, is one of the surest ways to create unhappiness and burnout amongst employees.

So what can you do to encourage a strong family life, within the context of work, in a way that has a positive impact? Here are some ideas to consider:

1. Flexitime

Giving employees responsibility to complete their workload, when it suits them, but within some parameters, is one sure way to encourage family life. This means that should a parent need to take their child to the doctor in the morning they don’t have to take time off, as long as they make up that working time later in the day or week. Of course this all depends on the specific employee and their role, plus how disciplined they are, but it should be possible to implement this successfully in many cases.

2. Leave policies

Virgin’s Richard Branson famously offers its employees unlimited leave, as long as their work is completed and their holiday will not at the detriment of the company. “We should focus on what people get done, not on how many hours or days worked,” he writes. Netflix is another company which does the same. In fact, in many instances where companies have adopted this policy, they find that their employees actually take LESS holiday days than they did previously, as they feel loyal and want to complete their jobs as best they can.

3. Maternity and paternity leave

South Africa is not known for having generous maternity leave policies and most companies have no paternity leave policies at all. This is in stark contrast to the UK where many mothers can enjoy up to a year of paid leave, and Finland, where fathers get around eight weeks of paid paternity leave, for example. Relook at your paternity and maternity leave policies and ask staff for their input.

4. Crèches

This all depends on the size of your business, but offering a crèche or child minding service at your employees’ place of work can minimise travel time for them and make them more productive. It will mean less time commuting as they drive from home to another crèche and then to work, plus it will provide peace of mind for them in those early days when their child is small.

5. Family days

What better way to get to know each other than to arrange a day out where employees are joined by their families for a fun activity or meal. It could be going to a theme park, go-karting, or arranging a picnic where everyone spends time eating, drinking and bonding together.

6. Rich benefits

Offer employees rich benefits like a retirement plan, the chance to educate themselves further with training or courses and time off to volunteer with charities. You also need to think about their health and organise wellness days at work like “Sisters on Site”, which can be arranged through Fedhealth Medical Aid, where they can have all their vital health checks completed, without having to travel anywhere.

Fedhealth’s new Maxima Dynamic Saver option and Hospital Plan gives everyone the same great benefits, but your employees only pay what they can afford. To find out more, contact our SMME unit on 082 455 8739 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Looking after the family lives of your employees is one of the best ways to reduce staff turnover and improve productivity. After all, your employees are like family themselves, and should be treated as such, if you both want to enjoy a fruitful, lengthy and mutually beneficial relationship.

Provided by Fedhealth.

Wellness / Worklife Balance

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