Creating a more inclusive workplace is on everyone’s mind these days. Not only is it the right thing to do, study after study shows that inclusive workplaces retain more women and employees of colour, and thus produce diversity of thought, more innovative solutions, increased returns, and increased profits.
One way to make your workplace more inclusive is to think about equality vs. equity: “Equality” is giving everyone the same thing, and “equity” is giving people what they need to be successful; or levelling the playing field, so to speak.
HELM.life has been in the childcare field for 5 years, and we’ve been thinking about our role in the inclusion space. We have found that providing employees with access to childcare reduces three specific equity barriers in the workplace:
Equity Barrier #1: Too Many Afterwork Events
Afterwork events, including dinners, holiday parties or corporate-bonding excursions, are tricky for employees who have kids at home. School and daycare schedules don’t adapt to the demands of work — someone always has to pick up the kids.
Not only are afterwork events hard on time for parents, they’re hard on the wallet — particularly for evening events. It is likely costing your employees with kids to be at the holiday party!
While this isn’t the intention of any employer, it’s important to be aware when considering workplace inclusion: Work events will put a financial burden on some of your employees, because they’re paying for childcare in order to attend.
Equity Barrier #2: Late Meetings
Schedulers should think twice about the necessity of meetings starting after 4:30PM.
There are very few childcare centres who keep kids past 6PM, and it is a very long and frustrating day for the kids who are left past pick-up time.
Late afternoon meetings make it difficult to bring the kids home on time, and they set up the entire evening for chaos. Imagine this scenario: Childcare pick-up at 6PM, arrive home around 6:30PM, get dinner on the table, race through the bedtime routine — everyone is rushed and miserable.
Studies show that parents and kids need time to reconnect after a long day apart, and not having enough time for this crucial bonding causes stress for families, which translates to stress for employees with kids.
Late meetings should not be necessary, and for many employees with kids, they’re not worth the trade-off.
Equity Barrier #3: No Assistance for School Holidays
For some strange, not-well-understood reason, the school calendar (even the school day!) doesn’t align with most work schedules. This means that in each family, at least one parent is left to figure out a solution for the next PA Day or holiday or sick day.
This childcare planning is an extra mental load that many of your employees are carrying.
HELM.life makes it easy for you to lend a hand.
Our Inclusive Corporate Benefit Packages allow companies to provide their employees with in-home babysitting during company events and those (occasional) late meetings, in addition to running Bring-Your-Kids-to-the-Office-Day on PA Days — with on-site childcare, activities and crafts. This gives your employees the childcare support they need — without any cost to them — and gives them peace of mind knowing their kids are being cared for in an environment they trust. All while allowing your corporate family to grow closer.
Forward-thinking companies are realizing it’s time to close the gaps and barriers at work — barriers that have been there so long that they are hard to see. Access to corporate-sponsored childcare is a solution that shows your employees you see them as people and as family members, and that you’re ready to lend your support.