Survey: Friends, pets, grandparents and grandchildren are part of the family for many – it's time for employers to wake up to the range of family perceptions
According to a survey commissioned by DNA and carried out by Taloustutkimus (in Finnish), more than half of working-age Finns (57%) consider it important that the employer has family-friendly practices. Nearly half (46%) also feel it is important that the companies that provide services to them take into account various kinds of family situations and perceptions. Up to two out of three respondents (67%) feel that their family extends beyond the traditional concept of a nuclear family.
The survey was targeted at working-age Finns (aged 16 to 65) to find out who they feel are part of their family. In other words, if the respondent does not have any grandchildren, for example, they hardly replied that grandchildren belong to their family. On the other hand, a grandparent may not consider grandchildren as part of their family. Therefore, the aim was to find out the personal experience of working-age Finns about their family situation. It cannot be concluded from the results what percentage of grandparents feel or do not feel that their grandchildren are part of their family, for example.
More than half of the respondents say that their spouse or partner (73%), a biological parent or parents (64%), their own children (60%), or siblings and half-siblings (58%) belong to their family. These alternatives largely correspond to the concept of a traditional nuclear family. After all, only parents and their children are considered to be part of a nuclear family. A total of 99% of all respondents felt that at least one of these alternatives belonged to their family, or otherwise, their family did not include anyone, that is, they did not feel that anyone belonged to their family (1%).
However, up to two out of three respondents (67%) also named one or more family members outside the traditional concept of a nuclear family. A third of respondents (35%) feel that a pet is a part of the family and a quarter of respondents (26%) feel that grandparents are part of the family. Around a fifth of respondents feel that grandchildren (21%), children's spouses (18%) and the spouse's children (18%) belong to the family. A total of 9% of respondents also considered a friend or friends to be part of their family.
People who took part in the survey were also asked to assess whether their response would change if instead of someone belonging to their family, they were asked whether they considered someone felt "like family" to them. Around two-fifths (39%) answered yes, and the younger the respondent, the more the family perception expanded. Nearly a quarter (23%) of all respondents to the survey felt that a close friend or friends were like family to them.
"The results indicate that the perception and experience of working-age Finns about their family is much wider than that of the traditional nuclear family. The respondent's age and life situation have a clear connection to their experience. Employers should by now at the latest wake up to the fact that family-friendly practices are equal and uniform for all," says Marko Rissanen, DNA's Senior Vice President, Human Resources.
The survey was carried out by Taloustutkimus using an Internet panel between 25 February and 3 March 2021. The respondents were aged between 16 and 65 and the sample was nationally representative. The total number of respondents is 1,581. The survey was prepared and the results were analysed in cooperation with the recruitment media and consulting firm Duunitori.
Family-friendly practices are expected from companies – flexibility is the most important thing
The survey clearly shows that the majority of working-age people want the employer to take families into account: 57% of respondents consider it important that the employer has family-friendly practices. However, the respondents' broad understanding of their own family clearly indicates that these practices should take also others into account apart from families with children. A total of 87% of respondents considered it important that everyone is treated equally, regardless of age, gender or any background and characteristic.
Taking the range of family situations and perceptions into account was not limited to employers, but nearly half (46%) of the respondents also felt that it was important that the companies which provide services to them also take various kinds of family situations and perceptions into consideration.
Those who responded to the survey consider flexibility in working hours, such as the possibility to influence or determine working hours themselves (89%), as one of the most important characteristics of a family-friendly workplace, along with enabling various kinds of leaves and flexibility on the basis of a family situation (83%), and flexibility in work location, such as the possibility to work wherever you want (78%).
A total of 47% of respondents considered it important to communicate to the personnel how various kinds of family situations and backgrounds are taken into consideration and 41% of the respondents considered it important that these situations and backgrounds are taken into account in personnel benefits. For persons aged 16 to 24, it was more important than for other age groups that various kinds of family situations and backgrounds are taken into account in personnel communication (68%) and benefits (49%).
DNA believes in practical measures – focus on family-friendliness this year
”At DNA, family-friendliness means above all practical measures. For some, such measures allow more time with friends, while others feel that they bring flexibility into working life for the needs of children or parents. In other words, the family circle may include children, parents, spouses, their children, pets or friends, depending entirely on who you ask. As an employer, we understand that unique families are equally a power source in everyday life," Rissanen says.
There are several examples of practical family-friendly measures that are suitable for various life situations. DNA has been working in a flexible manner since 2012. This means that if your position is not tied to a place or time, you can work wherever and whenever without a separate permission from your supervisor. For those for whom this freedom is not possible on the basis of their job description, there is also a great amount of flexibility and opportunity to influence their working hours.
DNA also offers a special grandparental leave, which is a week-long paid leave intended for a grandparent to spend with their grandchild and help out with the everyday life of a family with children. Employees who became grandparents in a stepfamily or through adoption are also entitled to the leave. DNA has also made an agreement for home care service of a sick child. The service is a cost-free alternative to the parent staying at home when their child becomes ill.
"For years, we have followed a philosophy according to which the most satisfied customers can be achieved when the personnel is doing well. That is why we consider it important to be a genuinely family-friendly employer equally for all kinds of families. The well-being of the personnel is also proved to be reflected on the bottom line, that is our financial success," Rissanen says.
DNA also takes into consideration those people whose family does not include children or grandchildren. Naturally, the flexibility and independence of work from location are equally present in daily work for everyone, regardless of family situation. Many of the company's events and well-being days are open to the families of the personnel on a wide scale – including friends or siblings, for example. Employees also have access to a free-of-charge service called Auntie which offers help with tackling everyday challenges ranging from relationship issues to other challenging situations. DNA also cooperates with the Gubbe companion service, which aims to reduce the family's concern over a beloved elderly person. A typical situation is that it’s not possible for an employee to visit the elderly as often as they want or need to. DNA pays half of the cost of the service.
"In spite of everything that is currently available, we feel that we still have a lot of work to do. We continue to develop our family-friendly practices and strive to take our employees in varying family situations into account more and more equally. That's why we've made family-friendly practices one of our most significant development targets as an employer this year. We want every employee to feel that DNA is there for them, when necessary," Rissanen sums up.
Further information for the media:
Marko Rissanen, Senior Vice President, Human Resources, DNA Plc, tel. +358 (0)44 220 3230, email@example.com
DNA Corporate Communications, tel. +358 (0)44 044 8000, firstname.lastname@example.org
More information on the survey and DNA’s family-friendly practices: https://www.dna.fi/family
Appendix 1: Who do you feel are part of your family?
Appendix 2: What makes a workplace family-friendly in your opinion?
About DNA Oyj
DNA is one of the leading telecommunications companies in Finland. We want to make our customers' daily lives less complicated. We offer connections, services and devices for homes and workplaces, contributing to the digitalisation of society. DNA's customers are continuously among the world mobile data usage leaders. DNA has about 3.6 million subscriptions in its fixed and mobile communications networks. The company has been awarded numerous times as an excellent employer and family-friendly workplace. In 2020, our total revenue was EUR 934 million and we employ about 1,600 people around Finland. DNA is a part of Telenor Group, a leading telecommunications company across the Nordics. More information: www.dna.fi, Twitter @DNA_fi, Facebook @DNA.fi and LinkedIn @DNA-Oyj.
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