Newspaper article The Chronicle (Toowoomba, Australia)

Families Come Ahead of Work; Survey Produces Surprising Findings

Newspaper article The Chronicle (Toowoomba, Australia)

Families Come Ahead of Work; Survey Produces Surprising Findings

Article excerpt

COPINGWITHKIDS

with Dr John Irvine

HERE'S a bit of news for executives.

Most parents of either sex are now in the work force, most parents put family miles ahead of work as a priority and most absenteeism is family related.

These are the findings of a report from the Institute of Family Studies in Melbourne.

But there are some other surprising findings too.

Child care was not the biggest issue any more. As the population ages parents are now becoming the sandwich generation with pressure from both sides: there's dropping the kids off, getting to the bank, grandma's shopping, taking a grandparent to the doctor, visiting school events, picking kids up after school and taking them to after school activities.

Funnily enough, in an American survey, working parents ranked family, marriage and children as most important, but, on the other hand, the managers ranked these factors lowest way behind efficiency and productivity and maybe in ignorance of the fact that a cared about worker cares more about the job.

The balance has to change; just think about how the family's responsibilities have changed.

Children are off to preschool or day care at a younger age and the family is expected to assume total responsibility at the beginning and end of a person's life but compete with other social agencies for all the productive years in between.

There's an old saying that the less the time spent with children the less the influence, so as time with growing children gets carved up between grandparents, school, after school programs, clubs and sporting teams, parental influence gets carved away accordingly.

The new family has to be different, it's one of shared workloads, shared incomes, caring for the elderly and the tenderly.

Statistics now clearly indicate that we're a greying population.

The family of the future will have more adults than children, more generations than three, more blended and mixed families and more childless couples.

But the new business company has to be different too. It has to be pro-family rather than anti-family, it has to be aware that outside responsibilities don't stop when work starts and it has to be personally caring if it wants its workers to be professionally productive. …

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