Time Off for Family, Time Off for Personal: Is It Really Any Different?
Many of you reading this blog post might be single, married, in committed relationships, have aging parents you care for, or just might not have any baggage at all. Who in this group makes the best employee? I can’t answer this question and you probably can’t either. The real question is how does a company that wants to keep talent make each individual happy and feel valued?
I happen to have many friends who are single. One of the biggest gripes I hear is their companies are more lenient to employees with children and employees who care for aging parents than they are to those who are single. Let me share some examples of what I hear and then I will offer solutions.
I hear friends say:
“My boss let my coworker leave early today to see their kid play softball.”
“My coworker came in late and nothing was said to her because their child was sick and she had to take the child to the doctor.”
“My coworker was able to take the day off to see their child who was in a school play.”
Then I hear friends say:
“I asked for an afternoon off for a doctor’s appointment and I was told to schedule it after hours.”
“I came in late because I was ill in the morning and got reamed because I was late.”
Do any of these sounds familiar? Do companies have a double standard? Once again, I can’t answer this, but I can offer solutions. Companies need to be aware that, in particular, single employees often make their jobs their life. The saying “they are the company” is true. For many single employees, their jobs are where they talk to others and spend the most amount of time. Speaking for my friends, they don’t begrudge their coworkers leaving early, coming in late, and needing more time. They do, however, feel their bosses don’t extend the same accommodations when they need a little extra time. Now, those of you reading this can say, “Maybe one employee is more valuable to the organization than another or maybe one employee has excess absences.” You may be correct, but for the argument of this blog, we will not go there.
Here are my solutions companies should enact:
Have a certain amount of personal time off for everyone (PTO).
- Include activities that employees can participate in such as running clubs, bowling clubs, losing weight or stop smoking club, and even book clubs—just some thoughts.
Companies that want to stay competitive and want to make their employees happy and productive need to not only treat everyone the same but have polices that they adhere to. The more companies can involve their employees in activities that make them happy the less likely the employees will be to move on.