First Thousand Day friendly workplacesCommon Good
Where you are makes a difference to who you are. Every one of us is located somewhere. The neighbourhood you live in. The shopping centres you visit. The classrooms you learn in. The workplace you are in.
Christ-followers recognize that they are placed in society for more than their own flourishing. Being salt and light (Matt 5:13-16) means that we look externally to serve, to love and to demonstrate and share the message of the gospel. We are encouraged to seek the peace, or shalom, of the places in which we are (Jer 29:7). Our faith flows outwards. When we are challenged by the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that the first thousand days presents, we are to ask: what can I do with where I am to make a difference?
Consider your workplace. Is it helpful to those in the first thousand days? If you are the chief decision maker, or someone without much authority, what can you do to lobby for change that can make it a FTD-friendly space? Whether or not you are in the FTD, want children, or have long since gone through it, the policies of the workplace can make a sizeable difference to the experience of families in the FTD. Consider your workplace. What can you do to lobby for change that can make it an FTD-friendly space?
A family-friendly workplace
Being a family-friendly workplace is varied and nuanced. UNICEF put together 10 ways in which companies can position themselves to be family friendly. Some of these policies are very far from the reality of most South African companies. What we recognise, however, is that there are a range of things that can be introduced to be moving in the right direction of being family-friendly.
A little closer to home: are you aware that breastfeeding mothers are legally entitled to two 30-minute breaks per day for breastfeeding or expressing milk. Read this resource for some of the implications for the workplace.
For a more detailed guide on breastfeeding in the workplace, all you need to know is on the GrowGreat website.
What is your next step?
As Proverbs 31:8, Christ followers are to speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves. The little lives cannot speak up for what they need. Prayerfully consider how can use your voice in your workplace.
Having read these two articles, how is your workplace doing? Is it first thousand day friendly? What are some of the ways that you can use your influence and voice in this space? In your context, with the nature of work, size of company and the existing policies, what are some ‘next steps’ that can be taken? Who are the right people with whom to start conversations? Even if you meet resistance, know that your speaking up could lead to more flourishing of children and families. It is worth it!
Whether or not you are in the first thousand days, lobbying for your workplace to be more accommodating is good for families, good for children and good for the future of South Africa’s children.