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National Work and Family Month - Got Balance?

Today's guest post was submitted by our board member John-Anthony C. Meza, Chief Administrative Officer of the Community Health Accreditation Program (CHAP).  

October is National Work and Family Month, which calls attention to issues that affect nearly every working American. Whether employees are dealing with workplace flexibility, health and wellness or dependent care, most of us have had an experience where we've needed to find that balance between work and family. I am proud to say that my employer, the Community Health Accreditation Program, has embraced work-life balance into every aspect of its business.

National Work & Family Month is an initiative led by WorldatWork's Alliance for Work Life Progress and is designed to encourage employers, employees and communities across the nation to identify and discuss mutually beneficial work-life programs and policies.  Most employers recognize that the way people work is evolving. The days of just one parent working and traditional 9-5 jobs are disappearing.  Best practice businesses are adopting innovative strategies to attract, retain, motivate and engage their employees. Research by the Boston College Center for Work and Family has shown that a healthy balance between work and family can help produce happier and more productive employees while positively impacting the business.  Organizations that do more to support their working families provide them the opportunities to thrive!

I can speak from personal experience to how families can be stretched thin.  As a non-profit HR executive, a husband and, most importantly, a father of three - a high schooler, a middle schooler, and my youngest in elementary school - scheduling and balancing priorities continues to get tougher.  We are faced with balancing homework, tests, soccer, Little League, scouts, tennis and three different schools calendars that often compete with each other.  This does not even begin to touch upon my to-dos at work.  While the scenario I laid out may be challenging, it is not uncommon. However, it is one that is becoming increasingly difficult for families with only one parent, who may be working multiple minimum wage jobs just to make ends meet. Issues such as this are highlighted in a great report by the Center for Law and Social Policy, Inc.'s (CLASP) Low-Wage Parents' Child Care Struggles.

Earlier this year, I attended the White House Summit on Working Families.  I commend the administration for focusing national attention on the issues facing America's working families.  We discussed many workplace issues such as access to paid and unpaid time off; livable wages; motivating and retaining employees; workplace flexibility; caregivers; and access to quality and affordable child care.  Calling attention to and raising awareness for these issues are critical steps in helping businesses and organizations address their own unique workforce challenges.

For those interested in increasing employee engagement and retention, information is available on the National Work & Family Month website, as well as other key human capital organizations, such as the Workforce Institute at Kronos. These resources will help organizations understand and utilize best practices in creating great places to work while building a great business.

Take our poll below and let us know how well you manage balance between work and the rest of your life.

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