Just what is a "family friendly workplace"?

  1. I'd like to hear what other people think of when they hear the expression "family friendly" workplace. I ask this because I often hear nurses complain that they missed an event or a holiday because the hospital wasn't "family friendly" enough.

    To me, I think that a family is in the eye of the beholder. I feel that my husband and I are a family even though we do not have kids. I find a hidden trap in the expression "family friendly" because the agenda is sometimes seen as one which offers those with young children more flexibility. To me, "family friendly" would be a policy which considers the needs of all employees and their significant others on an equal footing.

    But that's just me. What do you think?
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    About Enright

    Joined: Jan '01; Posts: 167; Likes: 6
    RN, government consultant


  3. by   wanna B an RN
    I normally thought of "family friendly" in terms of parents with children, but now I do see the other side. Above all, I think the taking of holidays and special occasions should be spread equally, or else you will end up with many unhappy employees. Here, it goes by seniority, which on paper looks great, but the ones with the seniority get ALL the holidays. Most of the girls in the back (where this is the problem) are presently looking for new jobs because of this.
  4. by   misti_z
    Enright--I agree, me and my husband have no kids but I consider us a family. But sometimes we are overlooked when the managers are deciding which nurse should be called off to be with her family.
    My floor has adopted a new plan for the holidays. It looks great on paper, but we have not put it into practice yet--Thanksgivivg is the first holiday it goes into effect. They have spilt all the nurses (RNs, LPNs, CNAs) into two teams: Team A & B. Team A will work Thansgiving eve, B works Thanksg. day; A works Christmas eve & B Christm. day--this is in effect New years (eve & day), Easter,and Labor day. Each year the teams will rotate holidays and if there are too many people working they will be called by seniority. We can also get with people from the other team and switch as long as everything is covered.........Maybe it will work
  5. by   donmurray
    UK calling! over here, we too are travelling the "Family Friendly" route, though some are making a case for the term to be "employee" friendly, rather than family, as most people tend to infer children being involved, when family is used. Hey! everyone is somebody's child! Our government introduced a programme called "Improving Working Lives" which sets targets and standards to be achieved by employers, towards enabling workers to balance their home and their working lives, and "family friendly" is part of the package. Early days, yet, and most employees covered are in the public sector at present.
  6. by   MollyJ
    I think of family friendly as:
    lets you sometimes meet the needs of your children, aging parents, partner/spouse. I think that if work places get so busy accomodating their employees, then sometimes the main work doesn't get done. I think it means when you call in sick because of a sick child or yourself, they don't act like you have an illegitimate excuse. A flexible work place allows trades to meet family needs, allows a nurse (if her co-workers, represented by the charge nurse, are in agreement and the unit isn't in "shambles") to take a very occasional 2 hours [part of which is their lunch hour] away to do a volunteer job at her child's school or go see a program, understands that my family may need to come first at times. Family friendly work places treat employees like adults and because the adults are adults they engage in reciprocity, meaning the employee is willing to go the extra mile for the employer, too. Nurses who get consideration from their employer should be willing to give consideration, that is covering for other nurses who have family related needs (like an elderly parent need, going to a doctor appt with a spouse), working the dreaded extra shift (we are not talking about MOT, I'm talking gentleman's agreement here).

    I think family friendly environments are not so much a matter of policy as mindset, where the employer and management and the employee view each other with respect ("I couldn't do this job without YOU") and they allow some humanity in the work place. This environment is spoiled by viewing the employee or their work output as a commodity, taking more than giving (OVER A PERIOD OF TIME) and general abuse of the individuals (one person ALWAYS gets the benefits and one or more person ALWAYS bears the burden).

    I think single, married, people in SO relationships, people with elderly parents etc should benefit from a family friendly environment. For example NO policy covers letting a man or woman accompany a significant other of the same or opposite sex to a doc's appointment, but a family friendly environment would (through trades or other forms of reciprocity). We all belong to some some type of extended family structure.