Supporting Family Friendly Workplaces

The importance of Family Friendly Workplaces

From our 20 years as Outside the Box, and our work with countless organisations across the third, public and private sectors, we know family-friendly working practices are at the heart of inclusive, thriving workplaces. If policies and practices don’t support families, gender inequality and discrimination are more likely, and lowered morale and retention of skilled employees can become a problem for workplaces.

In 2018 we started a piece of work learning from working mums’ and families’ experiences, sharing good practice, and supporting employers to make simple changes. Since 2018, we’ve integrated our research and learning with our understanding of the needs of working single parent families, LGBTQI+ families, families who are new to Scotland, and parents and carers who are disabled or living with long term health conditions.

So we’ve been working with different organisations to support their teams and managers to explore what they need, and simple steps to improve their experiences.

“Working with Outside the Box has been a positive experience. The staff teams enjoyed the workshop sessions and we got some simple but effective ideas to enhance our practices to support working parents particularly with babies and young children.” – Rachel Chambers (She/Her) | Women’s Forum Co-Chair
Cornwall Council

Support to create a Family Friendly Workplace

To improve policies and practices, we start with listening. Our approach is to facilitate a space to listen to the experiences of women, parents, carers and other members of the workplace around wellbeing barriers. Each context is unique, and what’s most helpful in one workplace may be irrelevant in another, so it’s important to take a grounded, practical look at what’s needed. For example, a public sector service and a small employer will likely be facing different pressures and need different support – as well as having different opportunities for simple changes that make a big difference to staff.

Working with employers and employees is always the starting point. Then we use our breadth of experience around what’s required practically, legally, and for individuals, to help you bring in improvements. Even easy changes – like checking parental leave policies have clear, inclusive wording and are accessible to everyone, or crafting prompts for better conversations – can make a big difference.

Family Friendly Workplaces across the UK

As well as our experience working with organisations in Scotland, from childcare providers to community development organisations, we’ve recently been supporting Cornwall Council on a piece of work led by their Women’s Forum. In an environment where lots of workplaces have embraced hybrid working, it’s easier than ever to support organisations across the UK and in rural places. It was wonderful seeing the passion many managers and team members have for developing innovative and equality-based practices, and continuing to learn from both their own experiences and from what other organisations are finding out. Beyond details, it’s exactly that kind of care and enthusiasm for employee wellbeing, career development and aiming for excellence which form the foundation to Family Friendly workplace cultures.

Visit our Family Friendly Workplaces webpage to find out more about our development support work and how we can help your organisation.