“Snowtober” Highlights the Importance of Family-Friendly Workplace PoliciesPosted November 7th, 2011 by Michelle Noehren
Not that I needed another reason to be grateful for many of the workplace benefits my current employer provides but I can’t help but be incredibly thankful that during Connecticut’s “snowtober” as it’s being called, my employer has allowed several of her employees the ability to work from home, be flexible with our work hours and has even said we can bring our children into the office if need be.
If you haven’t heard, Connecticut (and surrounding states), got hit hard by a snow storm right before Halloween. Most of the state has been without power for 7 days now, and our neighborhoods look like a tornado blew through and knocked all the trees (and power lines) down. Considering it’s hovering around 20-30 degrees at night, the fact that we have no heat in our home means I’m camped out at my parents’ house, who fortunately do have power and heat. I’m even more fortunate that I’m allowed to work remotely until power is restored in my area.
I know how fortunate I am to have a flexible workplace and I really understand the importance of workplace flexibility, especially for parents. So, I was delighted when I read an article about other Connecticut businesses that are making workplace friendly adjustments for their employees.
Aetna, a Hartford based insurance company, has been opening their doors to their employees children and spouses since Monday. They have even gone above and beyond by setting up activities, movies and special breakfasts for the children stuck at work with their parents (school has been closed in many towns). Aetna’s CEO is quoted in the Hartford Courant saying that “their employees are their most important assets.”
Research indicates that when companies provide for more family-friendly policies, employees feel more loyalty to their employers and in return, companies have less staff turnover. An employee (and mother) at Aetna is quoted saying, “I’m really proud. You really love to come work for a company that does this for their employees.”
And I’m happy to say Aetna is not the only place in Connecticut that I’ve heard is making accommodations for working parents. Hartford Hospital, Cigna in Bloomfield and many other large corporations are allowing for similar workplace perks during this difficult time in the state (almost 400,000 people are still without power, oh and Halloween was canceled!).
I hope that these companies, and all companies, realize the importance of workplace flexibility for parents not just in unexpected natural disasters like “snowtober” but also year-round. Workplace flexibility for employees is really a win-win – employees feel more loyalty to their workplace and employers keep talented employees while also saving money in turnover costs. Thank you, “snowtober” for really highlighting the need for family-friendly policies, because that’s about all I can thank you for.
Michelle Noehren is the Events & Special Projects Manager at the Connecticut Permanent Commission on the Status of Women and is the founder of www.ctworkingmoms.com, an online community for Connecticut working moms. In addition to her career, website, husband and baby girl, she also serves as co-chair of the National Mothers & Caregivers Economic Rights Advisory Committee.