Although kids going back to school in the fall makes things simpler for working parents in some respects, the back-to-school season can be pretty complicated.
With the school day typically ending between 3 and 4 p.m., working parents need to either head home to look after their children or make sure their kids are occupied with activities. Having to reengage in after-school programs adds another layer of adjustment for working parents. Furthermore, school holidays don’t always agree with the vacation allotment provided by an employer. And then there’s dealing with days off of school due to inclement weather and staff development days.
Fortunately, more and more employers are recognizing that keeping working parents effective means appreciating the demands of child care. With flexible scheduling and other measures, organizations are able to offer significant support for working parents, leading to better outcomes in and a stronger bottom line.
With this is in mind, consider the following ways to support your working parents during back-to-school season.
Employers may want to give significant flexibility to working parents throughout the school year, but at the same time, do so without making non-parents feel neglected simply because they don’t have kids.
It’s crucial to note that ‘family’ does not solely mean children. If you’re granting flexibility to parents coping with back-to-school schedules, afford the same to staff members who may have personal responsibilities like taking a sick loved one to the doctor. Furthermore, with flexibility should come responsibility. Ask staff members to be as forward-thinking as possible when communicating the need to flex their schedule, so they don’t shirk their job duties.
If you can apply flexibility equally across your entire staff, those without children are less likely to feel put-out when they have to cover for a co-worker since they know others will do the same for them.
A Culture of Understanding
Managers should strive to be understanding when it comes to staff members dealing with back-to-school issues. Importantly, they should let working parents know they don’t need to feel guilty about taking time to deal with child care or school-related issues.
Needless to say, if a worker is taking too much time off, to the point that they are unable to handle their basic job duties, this requires a conversation between the worker and their boss.
Promote Your Employee Assistance Program (EAP)
Typically offered within a standard benefits program, EAPs are intended to help staff members take care of issues impacting their personal or professional lives, including mental health and financial challenges. If your business has an EAP, you ought to remind your employees how it can be helpful during the back-to-school season.
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