Small Business Tax Center
Small Business Ideas, Grants &
Plans to Start & Run a Business:

Small Business Grants
CyberSchmooz
Network in Cyberschmooz Community Ask Questions Questions and Answers Share Tips Small Business Ideas List Your Business Business Advice from Idea Cafe Experts Coffee Talk with Experts Starting A Business Business Plan Biz Planning | Sample Plans Small Business Ideas Idea Name Your Biz Name Plan Your Biz Plan Financing $ Starting a Business Do It! Running your Business Marketing Tips Promotional Merchandise Marketing Tips Marketing | Sales | Customers Human Resources HR | Employees | Contractors Legal Forms & Tax Information Legal | Biz Forms Managing a Business Managing | Operations
Financing Resources Financing Your Business E Commerce & Webhosting eCommerce Take Out Info Trade Publications FREE Trade Publications Business Books Biz Books Your Own Business Small Business News Small Biz News Gen X Biz Gen X Biz Work at Home Work @ Home Business Information The Fridge - Biz Info on Ice Destress Send Awards Send Awards & Greetings Yoga At Your Desk Yoga @ Your Desk Fun Guide Guide to Find FUN Online About Idea Cafe Press Idea Cafe has received Idea Cafe in the News Idea Cafe's Kudos Kudos for Idea Cafe Advertise on Idea Cafe Advertise on Idea Cafe Privacy Policy Privacy Policy Contact Idea Cafe Contact Idea Cafe Link to Idea Cafe Link to/from Idea Cafe Join Idea Cafe
Search Idea Cafe Site Directory Site Map Online directory to business resources Biz Web Guide



Expert Answers to Biz Questions

Listen in! Pick up some expert advice to a reader's question that we selected from CyberSchmooz.

color business bar

The Biz Question

I'd enjoy comments and input on employers' assessments of employees who have elderly family or child care responsibilities. What are companies doing to assist employees with these issues? If nothing, why hasn't this been made an employee-assistance issue?

Caro

Answer from our Guest Expert Allison Gaea Jucha of Yes!Coaching

Dear Carol:

Although more companies are responding to increasing employee absenteeism due to family problems with an arsenal of human resource-based programs and benefits -- such as job sharing, flextime, child care savings funds -- the message remains: life and work are separate and must remain so.

But while there's been no widespread "cure" for the segregation of home life and work, increasing numbers of people are demanding real solutions to the issues of work and family care. More and more small and large companies are becoming models to follow, and several life/work professionals' organizations are available to help employers and employees work together to answer questions and provide solutions.

Often, the real issue for employers is an assumption they'll lose time and money by providing life/work balance options for employees; however, companies are finding out that nothing could be further from the truth!

You can help companies you work with by exposing them to the many cost-effective options available to them as they provide expanded services for their employees.

Learn from a Family-Friendly Company

VeriFone Inc., with its headquarters in Redwood City, California, is one of the most integrated models of life/work balance in the country. Primarily a virtual company, almost all of its employees telecommute. VeriFone has designed technology and organizational development into a business art form. Using extranets, e-mail, and teleconferencing, the business gets done. Employees are discouraged from doing business "outside" of traditional business hours, such as during dinner time, and managers will check in with employees to make sure that work-at-home doesn't become all-consuming. The company has family programs as well, including VeriPals, a penpal network of employees' children who live all around the world. (Pretty nifty, huh?)

You can read about other such companies in biz magazines, too! For example, every year, Working Mother magazine reports on the Top 100 Family-Friendly Companies in the U.S. These companies are rated concerning benefits, flexible scheduling options, pay, child care assistance, and more.

Likewise, at your local bookstore, you can check out how "green," family-friendly, and socially responsible company founders are writing their own stories. In the biz book section, at least ten books at a time relate the growth of these companies, such as Tom's of Maine, the Body Shop, and the Republic of Tea. Because they began with a vision of cooperation and profit, they tend to hire those with a vision for their own lives. Businesses using enlightened business practices appreciate employees who don't compromise in their own lives and are willing to do what's best for themselves and their families.

Human Resource Departments

All human resource directors are aware of the myriad of programs available to help employees who are caring for other family members. While whole programs may not be currently available within the company, they may be initiated due to increased need or applied in a case-by-case fashion. In other words, just because you can't see it in the benefits book, doesn't mean it isn't an option.

Once the employee has established a need and a plan (based on the company's benefits package or the employee's ingenuity), the first place to go is his/her manager or supervisor. This person knows employee success at the company directly impacts the bottom line of profitability. If employee and business needs can be matched and met, there is usually little argument from either side about any changes that may need to take place.

Professional Work/Life Consultants

The best place to find help with establishing child- and elder-care assistance is on the Web. Tune to www.awlp.org for the Alliance of Work/Life Professionals. The members' list includes organizations like the ElderCare Helpline and Work/Life Solutions. Businesses who use such services, or have growing family service programs, are also members.

This type of consultancy is best described in Working Mother's March 1998 issue in an article called, "The Problem Solvers." Services provided may include help with parenting to financial assistance, even relocation help and school searches. The article sites NationsBank (St. Louis) as estimating a savings of 14 to 18 hours per employee using work/life consultant services. Their VP for work and family is quoted as saying, "[using these consultants] saves our company a great deal more than we spend on it."

Government Assistance

Last, but not least, employees can look to state and federal assistance programs to help pay for dependent care. Some companies are also receiving help from local or state government in the form of tax breaks as incentive to establish assistance programs or on-site daycare programs.

This issue isn't going away. Historically, taking care of the family has always been "fit into" a schedule of hauling water up to ten times a day for cooking and cleaning (1820); factory work (1910); or modern employment by commute. Rarely have we seen a viable solution in our history as we serve as both caregivers and monetary providers. But we're demanding that work and life no longer be treated as separate issues. And companies are responding slowly, but favorably.

Good luck with your biz! 

Have a biz question of your own? Go post it in CyberSchmooz

Meet the Experts

Google      

Small Business Tax CenterIdea Cafe HomeSign UpBiz Grant CenterCyberSchmoozCoffee Talk with ExpertsPeople in Biz ProfilesStarting Your BizBiz PlanningRunning Your BizFREE Trade PublicationsMarketingFinancing Your BizHuman ResourcesLegal & Biz FormsManaging Your BizeCommerceYou and Your BizGen XWork@HomeThe FridgeDe-StressSend an AwardSend an eGreetingYoga @ Your DeskWeb GuideIdea Cafe in the NewsAbout Idea CafeAdvertise on Idea CafeContact UsPrivacy PolicySite MapSmall Biz News

Copyright 1995-2017, Idea Cafe Inc. Downloads are for personal use only, not for resale to others, and may not be reprinted in any form without written permission from Idea Cafe Inc.

DISCLAIMER: We hope whatever you find on this site is helpful, but be cautioned that it may not apply to your own situation, or be totally current at any given time. Idea Cafe Inc. and all of its current and past experts, sponsors, advertisers, agents, contractors and advisors disclaim all warranties with regard to anything found anywhere on this family of websites, quoted from, or sent from Idea Cafe. and its related sites, publications and companies. We also take no responsibility for comments published by others on these pages.

TRADEMARKS: The following are Registered Trademarks or Servicemarks of DevStart, Inc.: Idea Cafe®, Online Coffee Break®, The Small Business Gathering Place®, Take out Info®, Biz Bar & Grill®, Complaint-O-Meter®, A Fun Approach to Serious Business™, CyberSchmooz™, and BizCafe™.