The turn of May and June is a special time for all parents. June 23 is Father’s Day, and less than a month ago we celebrated Mother’s Day. There are more and more reasons to celebrate among Sii Poland employees – only last year the number of new parents at Sii increased by nearly 200. The company seeks to provide everyone, including those who already have older children, with the greatest possible balance of work and private responsibilities.
The experience gathered during the COVID-19 pandemic has significantly highlighted the need to combine the role of father or mother with the role of a professional in a flexible way. According to the labour law, the parent caring for a child has some special privileges, but it is up to the employer whether the company gives them a sense of security and self-fulfilment. Sii Poland, as a six-time winner of the Great Place to Work title, takes these parallel roles of its employees very seriously and supports them in many aspects. This applies equally to mothers (more on opinions in the text “Why mothers are important and what is important for mothers“) as well as fathers.
Remote work possibility
Thanks to the Office 365 tools implemented in Sii Poland, the company has become a modern Digital Workplace, which gives each employee a real opportunity of remote work. This was confirmed by this year’s global situation of social isolation, at the beginning of which 95% of the Sii team switched to work from home mode overnight. Both the IT infrastructure and the tools used for communication in remote teams guarantee that this way of performing duties does not differ in quality and efficiency from work in the office. The final decision whether the parent can take advantage of this opportunity lies with Line Manager. Every day many Sii employees work exclusively from home, and some of them use this form regularly on a part-time basis.
– I have several years of experience in remote work and I think that this is the best system that can be chosen for a parent. You don’t waste time travelling to the office, you can take a break and play with your children, or just have lunch with them. Of course – there are days when the situation is not so easy and pleasant, but it is much more often calm and nice. Such work also requires excellent organization and self-discipline – says Grzegorz Gronkiewicz, Project Manager, dad of 8-year-old Marysia and 4-year-old Helenka.
– Since I started working remotely, I have more time for myself and children, but also more strength and willingness to spend this time actively and creatively. At the same time, being home with children also requires a division of responsibilities between parents, sometimes running a “home kindergarten”, which can be exhausting. The most important thing is probably clear rules and an even division of tasks – says Jadwiga Drozdzińska-Pazurek, Test & Analysis Engineer, mother of 4-year-old and 2-year-old.
Understanding and self-realization
For working parents, the most important is understanding among superiors and colleagues and development opportunities. Entering an important role in private life does not mean the end of professional development – also for women! Numerous cases show that we have great success at Sii Poland after returning to work: they are promoted or take on new challenges. With the support of the team, they are not afraid of new responsibilities.
Understanding the needs of parents is extremely important in emergency situations. An example would be the teachers’ strike in Poland in 2019, when children could not go to kindergartens and schools. At that time, Sii Polska invited employees and children to the offices, offering assistance in working care.
The company was also open to help during restrictive home quarantine due to the COVID-19 threat. Local HR departments organized a lot of virtual actions so, while working remotely, they do not lose contact with employees and to support them in professional and parental responsibilities. They organized the Help Exchange campaign on the internal Sii Portal, which encouraged employees to offer each other help and share their skills in this difficult period. During this action, a two-part guide was created recommending additional activities for children while the parent works from home. Employees also willingly took part in the #stayathome competition, boasting of their new hobbies from the quarantine period, or in the branch challenge of burning calories with at-home sports activities. In Kraków and Łódź employees could show off Easter cards created by or with their kids. Almost all branches organized meetings for morning coffee, remote support groups and online meetups.
– I have three kids at home, which I took to the office after work so that my wife could breathe a bit – says Łukasz Anyszka, Software Engineer from Sii Łódź. – When I was working, she dealt with all three. Our children, although they can play alone, have a great need for attention and spend time with their parents. Our office and its large space were a huge attraction for them, especially the swings. They are also happy to listen to what we are doing here at the company. I am also glad that we met with such openness on the part of the company. Sii is my first workplace, where the presence of children is so welcome and it is very important for me as a dad – adds Łukasz.
Also, the programs for employees, Sii Passion Sponsorship Program and Sii Power Volunteers, attract many parents who thanks to them can develop their hobbies and interests. They are often an opportunity to show children additional activities, e.g. sports passions or activities for the benefit of society. Sii volunteers often involve their families in projects, such as in the case of PSii Patrol – helping homeless animals in the shelters.
– It was a good experience for all our family. The girls took a visit to the shelter very emotionaly. Of course, they would love to embrace every pooch and kitten. Additionally, the positive effect of this visit is that Natalia counts down to reaching the right age and becoming a volunteer – says Monika Piepiórka, Project Administration Specialist, mother of 11-year-old Natalia and 6-year-old Karolina.
– I am the leader of the Sii Running Team and participate as its member in many official runs throughout Poland. I am almost always accompanied by my family. The kids have already got used to the blue T-shirts with the Sii logo, which I always wear on the run. They also often have the opportunity to take part in the company Pasta Party before the race, visit our offices and meet my colleagues. They were even with us at the marathon in Stockholm, the trip was a great opportunity for the marathon runners from Sii to do a small family integration before the race. For me, the most important thing is that kids can see what sports passion and team support mean in achieving a goal – says Bartek Dryl, Senior Financial Analyst, father of 10-year-old Julka and 10-year-old Michał.
Sii for kids
One of the facilities for parents introduced in the offices in Gdańsk and Łódź is a room to work with a child. As Iza Sobolew, Office Manager at Sii Gdańsk, mother of 10-year-old Pola and 8-year-old Tola says, her daughters are happy to use this solution and visit their mother’s workplace. – We have created a space where the employees are close to their child and have everything they need to work. The kids have toys, board games, a drawing corner and PS4 console. We try to make everyone happy, including co-workers. “Young people”, busy with attractions in a dedicated room, do not disturb them at work – says Iza Sobolew.
It is also impossible not to mention Sii events dedicated to the youngest. Each year, the company organizes two unique meetings: Family Picnic on the occasion of Children’s Day and December Saint Nicholas’ Day. Sii Poland provides children of all ages with a multitude of attractions, which usually last for several hours, bring many positive experiences not only to children, but also to parents. – I really like those “childish” events! – says Katarzyna Domańska, CSR Manager, mother of 4-year-old Jagna. – Until I became a mother myself, I did not participate in them, although we can come to them with a child from our family. Now I enjoy watching my colleagues in a completely different role. The presence of a child who pulls their mom or dad to receive a Christmas present, makes you first and foremost a parent, not a department director, an expert, manager, engineer or tester. This allows you to look at colleagues in a broader context. Sometimes I find myself surprised that someone has 4 children, including one 3-month-old, and in the office it would not occur to me at all! It’s a very positive experience that allows you to deepen your relationships with work – she adds.
Being a parent gives you a new view of the world, allows you to develop new competencies, such as organizing time, multitasking and taking on new responsibilities. These are also very important features for a good employee. Therefore, caring for parents in the workplace brings mutual benefits. The role of the Best Workplace in Poland is to facilitate reconciliation of life roles so that the team can focus on achieving goals and deriving satisfaction from their work.
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