In our working lives each one of us would have experienced a struggle to balance the demands of work and family. According to a new report Paid Work and Parenting (2001) by John Buchanan and Lousie Thornwaite of the Australian Centre for Industrial Relations Research and Training fewer than 14 per cent of enterprise agreements registered last year included family-friendly provisions.
So what are family-friendly provisions and what are some of the possibilities?
The more obvious family-friendly provisions include, paid maternity, paternity and adoption leave, work-from-home options and the introduction of childcare into organisational sites. Others include flexible start and finish times, job share and emergency child care centres.
Obvious to some companies but not all. The phrase on many companies’ lips is ‘ our people are our biggest asset’ but can they walk the talk? Seemingly over 80 per cent of organisational enterprise agreements cannot.
Buchanan and Thornthwaite recognises that work and family balance is on the decline. Longer working hours, instability in the workplace and technology now reduce the separation between work and home and this increases the intensity of pressure on employees.
However, there is a trend emerging in organisations to ease demands of work and family for their employees to combat lowering productivity and high levels of sick and personal leave days.
These stress relieving initiatives come in many different forms but can include, Yoga classes conducted by an external consultant on the organisations premises during lunch and after work. Some massage clinics offer their services at the work desks of employees. Others offer Professional Development Programs, External Coaching and Motivational Courses.
Organisations are starting to see the benefits of such initiatives. Whilst the initial costs can sometimes be large it is a question of economies of scale, the more people using the on-site gym the less it ends up costing the organisation, not to mention that productivity improves, when employees are healthy, happy fit and stress free. Many companies have witnessed the decline of sick days and personal leave days and a steady rise in productivity.
For organisations to succeed in today’s competitive, fast paced, technology driven workplace, they rely more and more on their biggest investment and asset, their people. Encouraging them to produce more and more for the business. But it cannot be a one way street and more and more organisations are realising the need to provide stress releasing opportunities and the options to better balance work and family issues. There is often a trade off and often employees are happy to chip-in.
For ideas or ways to increase people productivity contact Happening People on
02 9299 2332.
Well new reports suggest that Australia will have one of the strongest economies in the world throughout 2002.
When we think of the people we have worked with at Ansett we truly hope that this prosperity shines on you all.
As the weather heats up so too is our delivery with Fairfax. Welcome aboard we are already loving the ride.
Take care everyone.