Career | Company

Larissa Gilke

Help balancing family and career

A service for working parents

Making work and family life compatible is becoming increasingly important. In many families, both parents have jobs so a well-organised approach to everyday life is more essential than ever. When mums and dads are in a tight spot, however, support from employers can be a godsend. Klasmann-Deilmann can now offer a new service: emergency childcare. We interviewed Ilka Krane, our Human Resources Officer, to find out more.

What does this emergency childcare scheme involve?

Imagine this situation: your childminder has called to say they’re ill, your partner is away on business and you have an important work meeting that can’t be postponed. This is where the emergency childcare provided by regional association ‘Ems-Achse’ comes in. You will be put in touch with a childminder who can step into the breach at short notice if your regular childcare is cancelled.

As Klasmann-Deilmann is a member of Ems-Achse, we’ve made an arrangement whereby we can offer this service free of charge to our employees in the Emsland region.

So what’s the procedure in a childcare emergency like this?

If there’s a childcare problem, the father or mother should contact me or a colleague at Human Resources. I pass on these needs to the childminding coordination unit. An available childminder will then make direct contact with the employee to take down the relevant details – such as exactly when childcare is required and also where: if the child can be looked after at home, or in the workplace while the parent is at the meeting.

Combining work and family life is obviously an issue close to your heart.

As I have two young children myself – aged two and four – I know how important a good childcare network is. However well you organise the working week and day-to-day family life, even the best-laid plans can go awry sometimes. Everyone who has kids will confirm that.

The way I see it, there are two key factors that make is easier to juggle work and family. Firstly, it helps if both mothers and fathers approach childcare as a joint responsibility. If they see themselves as on an equal footing in terms of this role, both parents can be committed to their career and to spending quality time with the family. Secondly, it’s important that employers help make work and family more compatible. This starts with flexible work models, and also includes help with finding daycare places and an understanding of management that focuses more on employees’ performance and less on merely how much time they spend at the office.

Do you feel there’s a need, and scope, for more support in this area than is currently provided?

Well, we’re a company that’s certified as family-friendly, so it’s a priority for us to help staff successfully balance family and work.

And it’s not just children who need care. For many of us, care of relatives – including parents and in-laws – will become an issue at some point. Here, too, we want to offer individualised solutions to those affected.

So what’s next on the agenda concerning this whole question of how to combine work and family life?

Right now we’re keen to get feedback. How do Mums and Dads manage to perform this balancing act, day in, day out? And, if things do break down, where exactly, and why? How can Klasmann-Deilmann provide more effective assistance? We’re keen to listen, and will appreciate any input or suggestions.