1. Identify national work-life balance initiatives and partners Yes No Organisational policies are in line with all national legislation for employment and workplace flexibility as well as leave and childcare entitlement. Yes No Information about legislation and campaigns to mainstream gender equality has been gathered. Yes No Information about the national policy context and available care services for the elderly and dependents has been gathered and considered.
The benefits of gender equality and work-life balance measures are reaped by both the organisation and the employees, and can be both financial and non-financial. Financial impact can be measured in terms of reduced costs (reduced absenteeism and reduced turnover and recruitment costs) or increased revenues (more engaged, productive, and creative employees). Indirect financial benefits may include improvements in employer brand perception, customer satisfaction, and increase in the number of applications from desirable candidates).
Before tackling the implementation and communication plan and for any work-life balance initiative, management must agree on objectives and how they will be measured. This is crucial because the success of work-life balance measures is dictated by a variety of factors, for example: existing organisational culture, type of business, automation and digitalisation, as well as the degree of gender-equality engagement in the company.
It is advisable to prepare an implementation plan for the rollout of work-life balance measures. This should include the methodology and timeline, as well as details about who will collect what data throughout the process. Regular monitoring sessions, for example through monthly steering-group meetings, can help the team evaluate progress and fine-tune objectives. The implementation plan should be based on a preliminary gender analysis in order to provide a baseline for measuring the company’s progress on improving gender equality.
There are many ways to secure enthusiasm for change in the workplace. Motivation can come from both management and from employees. Groups of employees can form a network to create mentoring and discussion opportunities in order to bring attention to the issue, and HR departments may begin evaluation and certification for ‘family-friendly employer’ awards. In some cases, the decision to improve work-life balance and initiate gender mainstreaming came from the company leadership.
Even though work-life balance measures appear to benefit employees, organisations and the community equally, they face risks unless a prior gender needs analysis is carried out. A proper risk assessment allows stakeholders to make solid contingency plans. Organisations need to have a clear understanding of the costs involved in the roll-out of work-life balance measures. Though there are significant differences between small, medium sized and large companies, the good practice examples show that even the smallest companies can implement a number of programmes at relatively low cost.
Measures that work for one company might not work for another company operating in the same country, which is why multinational companies are particularly struggling to implement work-life balance policies effectively across country offices. Attitudes to work-life balance are shaped by a country’s history, culture and norms, which are usually reflected in domestic legislation. Before starting to design work-life balance programmes, one must analyse the domestic policy and cultural context in order to pre-empt reactions from employees, social partners, shareholders and clients.
The purpose of a well-developed business plan is to serve as a blueprint for business initiatives, such as the roll-out of work-life balance measures. A business plan should define benchmarks, map stakeholders, and outline what data will be gathered and which data collection methods will be used. A compelling business case speaks to multiple target groups and secures buy-in through providing evidence on feasibility and effectiveness.
This business case advocates for organisational change and outlines how organisations in the ICT sector can boost equal opportunities and gender-equality through human-resource management to attract and retain female talent. Making workplaces inclusive for women is in the best interest of the ICT sector. It enables them to tap into a larger talent pool and reduces costs resulting from an inability to combine work and care responsibilities, for example high staff turnover and absenteeism.
The digitalisation of virtually all sectors of economic activity is providing unique opportunities for economic growth and for a greater inclusion of women in the labour market. The need for STEM and ICT skills is growing in all sectors, from healthcare to manufacturing, opening up new employment options for everybody. Recent forecasts show that by 2020 there will be a shortfall of at least 700,000 ICT professionals in Europe.
In 2017 the EU adopted the Pillar of Social Rights to help deliver more effective rights for citizens. It builds on 20 key principles, many of which are relevant to gender equality and work-life balance in employment. One of the goals of the European Pillar for Social Rights is the New Start initiative, which aims to address the work–life balance challenges faced by working parents and carers.