Authored by Cory Ybarra, Shelter Care Program Manager
Did you know that October is National Work and Family Month? No, neither did I! National Work and Family month was established in 2003 and celebrated every October, focuses on the challenges working families face every day. National Work and Family Month is recognized nationally by businesses, academic institutions, federal agencies, members of Congress, work-life advocacy groups, and individuals who want to make it easier for their employees to succeed at work and home.
In 2010 President Obama issued a statement which states, “National Work and Family Month serves as a reminder to all of us, especially working caregivers, their families, and their employers, that while we have made great strides as a nation to adopt more flexible policies in the workplace, there’s more we can do. Millions of Americans continue to struggle day-in and day-out to balance work and family life – to juggle their job responsibilities and caring for a child, an elderly relative, or a loved one with a disability.”
Being that National Work and Family Month has been in place for 14 years it made me wonder, what are some ways employers can support their employees with family and work life balance? In addition, what are some ways I have felt supported by my employer?
First things first, I believe it is incredibly important that employees voices are heard when family issues arise. Being a first time mom, finding childcare can be complex and stressful. By being able to speak openly with my employer about potential schedule conflicts, and concerns, makes me feel valued. I also think it is important for employers to allow flexibility with schedules. Employees who work flexible schedules are typically more productive and loyal to their employers. Boundaries, boundaries, and more boundaries – wait, did I say BOUNDARIES! Boundaries are SO important. It is okay to say NO, it is okay to give yourself a break, and it is okay not check your work emails while you are on vacation, it is also okay to take five to regroup after a long day, and it is okay to take a lunch break. I myself am extremely guilty of allowing work duties to flow over into my family time. And guess what? This is when burnout happens.
Burn out is incredible high in the social services field and I am challenging you all to unplug when you get home, do not over commit, and get support when you are feeling overwhelming. I am also encouraging you to not be afraid to use your paid time off you worked so hard for! – You deserve it!
Salt Lake County Youth Services cares about their employees and their clients. Every staff member is encouraged embrace self-care through meditation, quiet activities, exercise routines, healthy life style choices because they understand the importance of the mind body connection. If you have questions about self-care you can contact Youth Services at 385.468.4500. #youthslco