A family business for families
Starting a family is a big step. How one manages everyday family life is a very personal and individual question. As a fourth-generation family business, Balluff wants to support all employees as best as possible in this new phase of their lives.
Stefanie Haas is the Head of Global Sales Support at Balluff. Together with her team, she is responsible for providing support to the sensor and automation specialist’s sales team. But that’s not all. “I work a second job as a family manager,” says the mother of a six-year-old son. And in that role, her work starts in the afternoon: When the boy comes home from school, they eat lunch. After that, she helps him with his homework, plays with him, drives him to activities, or they run errands together—in short: parent-child quality time. “It’s very important to me that I do well with both these tasks,” Haas emphasizes.
Flexibility is key
This is possible because Balluff offers a high degree of flexibility. A long timeframe in which employees are allowed to work combined with short standard working hours are one aspect of this. This means that employees are free to arrange their working hours as they wish, and it is possible to schedule meetings between colleagues within certain time windows without any problems. The second aspect is the free choice of work location. In the spring, Balluff transferred the positive experience with remote work during the COVID-19 pandemic into a company agreement on working remotely—and now offers maximum flexibility: employees can work up to 100 percent of their hours remotely with their manager’s approval. Working hours can be flexibly divided between different work locations and times of day, both inside and outside company buildings. The only basic requirement is that the tasks are suitable for remote work. Technical hurdles have also been taken into account: for example, work equipment is provided for remote work, and the meeting rooms are equipped to allow hybrid appointments. Managing Director Florian Hermle, who is father of three children himself, puts it in a nutshell: "It is important to us that tasks are completed within the company. By making working hours more flexible and working remotely, parents at Balluff can get them done just as well, if not better, and at the same time reconcile the balancing act between everyday family life and their career more easily."
Support for families
“Supporting families has always played a major role for Balluff,” explains Daniela Bosler, Junior HR Business Partner at Balluff. “The number of employees in the workforce that have children is correspondingly high." One sign of appreciation is the financial allowance for childbirth. Balluff also offers support with daycare for the youngest: the company contributes up to 150 euros a month to daycare costs for children under three. In addition, for the children of employees from Neuhausen or the immediate vicinity, spots are reserved at the local daycare center Nesthäkchen.
Maximum flexibility: The company agreement on remote work introduced in the spring offers parents maximum flexibility: they can work up to 100 percent of their hours remotely with the approval of their manager.
Role models at every level
Mothers and fathers are familiar with a certain kind of uncertainty: How will my employer and colleagues react to my parental leave plans? How much support can I expect when I have to take care of my child? At Balluff, parents can expect a lot of that. "I feel understood and supported and have never felt that being a parent was a disadvantage for me," says Stefanie Haas. The department head, who has adjusted her working hours several times since the birth of her son, explains, "I keep in touch with my colleagues. My manager is very understanding and flexibly supports solutions that fit my current life situation." Steffen Kauderer, Head of Training & Didactics in the Marketing department at Balluff, emphasizes that it goes without saying that managers also take time for their families. The team lead welcomed a child at the beginning of the year and is now back from parental leave. "The fact that I wanted to stay home longer after giving birth and now arrange my working hours more flexibly, for example to be present at pediatrician appointments, was and is not an issue. Some of my team members and superiors are in the same boat—they understand."
Individual solutions for everyday family life
“My youngest has attended a few Teams meetings in my arms when there was just no other solution. Everyone understands,” Hermle describes his stance. “I have nothing but respect for everyone who decides to start a family. How you organize everyday family life is a very individual and personal question. For me as a father, it's important to take on an active role in raising my children. That's why my wife and I divide up the various tasks." It is important to him that the teams find a suitable solution together that works well for everyone. That's why the company relies on open communication, understanding among managers and the necessary flexibility. "Understanding and supporting parents and the resulting individual solutions are a motivating factor that also makes us attractive as an employer."