Work life balance stands for a balanced relationship between professional and private life. The aim is to reconcile private interests with the demands of the workplace and to achieve a healthy balance between the two. Various offerings at Fraunhofer IAF are designed to enable employees to flexibly shape their professional lives. These efforts have now been rewarded with an award from the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft: the Fraunhofer FamilyLogo. It rewards outstanding conditions to help employees reconcile work and private life at the institute and is valid for two years starting January 1, 2019. In an interview, the equal rights officers Vera Klinger and Sabine Metzen talk about the offers of Fraunhofer IAF.
For which specific offers was Fraunhofer IAF awarded with the FamilyLogo?
Metzen: Flexible work opportunities and a wide range of support activities for childcare and parental leave were particularly positively evaluated. In many areas, for example, home offices can be set up at short notice on an hourly basis if a child needs intensive long-term care. We also have a co-child office to bridge the gap in the event that regular childcare is not available. In addition, we work together with the Freiburg-based daycare center »Junikäfer," which allows us to offer places for children from three months of age until they start school, with very long opening hours from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. and hardly any closing days. Our employees are very happy to take advantage of all our opportunities. We receive very positive feedback.
Klinger: Right from the start at IAF, at the so-called Info Day, all new employees are informed about the possibilities at IAF. We also regularly inform our colleagues via the intranet about information events from external providers, e.g. via the »Freiburg Network of Family-Conscious Companies«. We are in a constant exchange to hear what families need to reconcile work and private life. We also talk to the group leaders, heads of the departments and business units to sensitize them to these issues, which are becoming increasingly important.
How does IAF address the topic of career and family?
Metzen: Many colleagues have families of their own and we regard the issues as absolutely compatible. We are happy to stay in touch during parental leave, invite you to team events and, if you are interested, you can also attend training courses during parental leave.
Klinger: By the way, more and more men are taking parental leave at the institute, so that there is really a great understanding for young families. The return to part-time work is not unusual, even for male colleagues, which is why we also offer the opportunity to take over leadership on a part-time basis.