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ESRC Impact Acceleration Account: Reforming Organisational Family-Friendly Policy and Practice to Better Support Working Families

Project: Research


This project is a vital undertaking, aligning with key ESRC priorities. The ESRC's Working Lives programme recognises the need to understand these contemporary transformations, which challenge outdated assumptions about working parents' lives. Understanding the lived experiences of various actors is a focus of the ESRC WL programme. Since Covid-19, people are experiencing and performing their work differently. Policies and practices supporting organisational life are outdated and unable to meet new business and personal requirements. Our research team includes social science experts focused on understanding organisational behaviour, work-family interfaces, and organisational inclusion. In modern society, where the nature of work is rapidly transforming and family life is no longer stable, their work is essential.

Our research shows how traditional assumptions that working parents constitute a stable nuclear family with neatly separated work and family domains are no longer applicable. To support modern working parents, organisations must move past out-dated assumptions and provide appropriate support structures, reducing the risk of losing the skillsets of talented employees. Our research will improve the well-being and organisational inclusion of modern working parents, avoiding the loss of valuable skills from the UK economy, and making a meaningful difference in our society.

Layperson's description

In collaboration with consultancy experts, we will create a toolkit to help organisations to improve family-friendly policies and practices. Our research shows that current policies are failing modern families, such as dual-career households, single parents, and those experiencing regular family disruption. Such inadequate policy support results in parents down-skilling or leaving the workforce, negatively impacting their personal well-being and employment, as well as the UK economy. We have already undertaken an early pilot workshop, utilising draft toolkit resources, to collect feedback. We seek to conduct two additional pilot workshops to finalise the toolkit in collaboration with industry experts. We will launch the final toolkit on a purpose-built website including a digital workflow to capture ongoing impact data. We will utilise ongoing impact data as proof of concept to influence government policy change.
Short title£18257.16
Effective start/end date1/08/2331/07/24
  • Radcliffe, Laura (Principal Investigator)
  • Ashman, Rachel (Co-Investigator)
  • Gatrell, Caroline (Co-Investigator)
  • Patterson, Anthony (Co-Investigator)

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