What you can do
If you work for a company that feels as if it’s still in the 1980s and no one leaves before 8pm, the chances are that many of your colleagues are as dissatisfied by the culture as you are.
What and how much you can do to change your working culture depends on what your job is, and who you work for. But everyone can try to push some changes through.
For example, faced with a severe recruitment problem, one London City firm bowed to pressure and allowed employees to work extra hours early in the week, then take a half-day on Friday. Although it was designed to help working parents, those without children also welcomed it as a step forward. Within two years, employees who were regularly headhunted said they’d prefer to stay put.
Try some of the following to change attitudes in your workplace.
Set up a parents’ group
Many companies are willing to change but not aren’t certain what employees want. Why not set up a parents’ group that can provide ideas on how to make a real change for working parents? Remember that together you’re a lot stronger than individually.
Once you’ve got the beginnings of the group together, talk to managers about what your group could achieve and why it’s important. Stress that having the group won’t be a threat to the company, but an opportunity to improve morale and production.
Spread the Word
Lots of companies have improved productivity and retained skilled personnel because of family-friendly working practices. You can find examples in the trade press, business sections of daily newspapers and from organisations.
Collect clippings and show them to the people who count where you work. Display these success stories on notice boards so that everyone sees what can be achieved.
Make sure you’re aware of your rights and know what you’re entitled to from your employer.
- Be positive
- Be as positive as you can about your situation. Instead of grumbling, explain which things could be better and how.
- The great thing about family-friendly practices is that they work – and employers as well as employees benefit from them.
- All you need to do is work out the strategies and make your case.