Rise in the Parent-friendly Workplaces within the UAE

May 15, 2024 thehrobserver-hrobserver-parentfriendlyworkplaces

‘The Future of Work: The Rise of Parent-friendly Workplaces in the UAE’ report released earlier by the Abu Dhabi Early Childhood Authority (ECA) indicates an evolution in the world of work across the UAE towards greater flexibility and support for working parents of young children. It highlights the growing acknowledgment of the tangible benefits of parent-friendly workplaces for organisations, parents, children, and communities, underscoring a shift from superficial treats and perks towards embracing flexibility and work-life balance.

“The transition indicates a future where more organizations are prioritizing employee well-being, creating a conducive environment that supports both professional success and family life. There’s also a notable progression from undocumented and ad-hoc practices to more sustainable future-proofed policies that offer consistent support to working parents,” said Layla Yousef Al Hassan, Senior Advisor at Abu Dhabi Early Childhood Authority.

Furthermore, statistics from the report suggest that employees who believe their managers apply parent-friendly policies fairly and regularly would be seven times more likely to recommend their employer to friends and family. This emphasizes the crucial role that every manager in an organization plays in shaping a brighter future for the workplace. 

“The fact that more workplaces in the UAE are adopting parent-friendly policies is not only a response to immediate workplace demands but also a strategic foresight into the evolving demands of the global economy,” added Al Hassan.

 This shift, greatly accelerated by the adaptability required during the COVID-19 pandemic, emphasizes the significance of flexible and supportive work environments that recognize employees as humans rather than resources. 

As organisations continue to leverage digital connectivity and recognise the value of human-centric skills, the UAE is setting a regional benchmark in nurturing workplaces that support both professional and personal growth. 

“This progressive stance is poised to shape the future of work, making it essential for businesses to integrate these practices to remain competitive and resilient,” Al Hassan said. 

The agency said that they believe that every organisation can develop creative solutions to the challenges faced by their employees who are parents of young children. They said they acknowledge that becoming parent-friendly is a journey that will take leadership and the adoption of a trust-based work environment. 

“We encourage organisations to develop unique and innovative solutions tailored to the specific needs of the nature of their business,” Al Hassan said. 

According to the agency, developing a parent-friendly organisation can help them have a more inclusive environment and a culture that effectively supports working parents and at the same time reap the benefits of their business. 

Global research shows that parent-friendly policies, such as those promoting work-life balance and flexible working, lead to employee retention, enhanced employer reputation, stronger brand appeal, and increased profitability. It’s estimated, through global research, that a highly engaged workforce can yield up to 23% higher profitability, indicating that investing in parent-friendly policies is also a wise business strategy. 

Since its launch in 2021, the Parent-friendly Label (PFL) program has helped organisations earn the label by having a supportive culture with flexibility. 

Policies like remote working, flexible working hours, and accommodation for emergencies, personal matters, and doctor appointments are becoming the norm. In some companies, the traditional attendance systems have been eliminated to relieve the pressure of having to be at work at a specific time. By integrating such practices, organisations are supporting working parents and redefining workplace expectations.


The HR Observer

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