Balancing work with taking care of children can often feel like a challenge, and the ripple effects of the coronavirus pandemic made that balance much more difficult for many Utah families. The events of the past two years have elevated the child care and family policy discussion, and the business community has a unique opportunity to respond in a way that strengthens families while supporting the need for workforce.

The negative impacts of the disruption in work, school, and childcare on working families is well documented. However, we are also seeing renewed attention to work/family balance among working parents, often manifesting in a greater desire to engage more in family life.

Taken together, this means that businesses have a unique opportunity to implement family friendly policies that will not only provide stronger support for the working parents in their workforce, but also create opportunities to find untapped talent. 

Family Friendly Work is a new initiative from Utah Community Builders, the Salt Lake Chamber’s nonprofit social impact foundation, and its purpose is to equip businesses with information, data, and best practices to be more family friendly in recruitment, retention, and management. 

There are three important principles that guide the Family Friendly Work initiative, and these principles ought to influence any policies or interventions that seek to be pro-family:

  1. Parents deserve the ability to balance work and family according to their individual needs and preferences
  2. Businesses and parents need a wide variety of options to choose solutions that work best for them
  3. Interventions should be targeted to the greatest area of need and informed by good data

Family Friendly Work will provide businesses with high-quality research exploring the current child care practices of Utah’s working parents, as well as their needs and preferences related to balancing work and family. In addition, we’ll produce a Family Friendly Workplace Guide, that turns the research, data, and best practices into simple, actionable steps businesses can take right away. These resources, in conjunction with events and multimedia, will shine a light on the ways businesses are supporting Utah’s working parents, strengthening both families and business. 

Those interested in partnering with us on this initiative, either through sponsoring events or resources, offering their own experience and best practices, or those who are already leading by example, should contact Utah Community Builders today: Nic Dunn, Director, at ndunn@slchamber.comTogether we can strengthen Utah as the best place in the nation to work and raise a family.