Back-to-school season can bring added anxiety and stress for working parents trying to manage their time. From getting to work on time, setting up carpools, making lunches, and remaining productive at work, working parents face difficulties with staying on top of everything during the academic season. It is important that parents are made to feel supported by their employers throughout the school season to set them up for success. Here are some ways employers can help make the back-to-school season easier for working parents.
Flexible Working Hours
Most companies adhere to the typical 9-5 working hours. That can be a significant downside for working parents as school hours can conflict with the traditional work schedule. The standard school hours range from 7:30-8:30 am to 3-4:30 pm, which can overlap with parents’ work schedules. Allowing employees to stray from the traditional 9-5 hours can help solve that problem. Promoting a workplace schedule that provides flexibility in the mornings and afternoons for kids’ drop-off and pick-up can support working parents as they navigate the school season, alleviate a lot of unnecessary stress, and potentially increase productivity in the workplace.
Employers everywhere had to adapt to the recent pandemic and make it accessible for employees to work from home. Continuing to give that opportunity to working parents can prevent any scheduling conflicts. A hybrid setting would also be beneficial if their position can’t be successfully completed in a full, remote format. A workplace adaptable to employees’ needs will help them feel appreciated and understood.
Promote Open Communication & Feedback
Employees should feel comfortable talking to their superiors about any concerns. Encouraging parents to remain vocal and communicative during the back-to-school season can prevent any hostility employees might bring into the workplace. When employees feel comfortable communicating the dilemmas that impinge on their work-life, it will be easier for both employee and employer to collaborate on a solution. One of the best ways to support working parents is simply to ask them what they need or how to help. It can be difficult to accommodate parents without knowing the exact challenges or obstacles they might face. When bringing working parents together in the workplace, having an open discussion of how to assist best and support them is a great way to create solutions.
Set Parents Up For Success
Informing supervisors and managers on the back-to-school calendar can better prepare them for the upcoming season. It would be helpful for them to know the general school hours and any important school holidays. Ask parents at the beginning of the school year for the dates of school holidays, staff development days, breaks, or early dismissal, and make a note of it. When employers are aware of parents’ home life, they can better understand how to help and set them up for success.
Connect Parents Through Community
Giving working parents as much support as possible is crucial for success. Providing them with a sense of community can help their mental health and bond them together. Employers can connect parents with children that might attend the same school or sports team. This connection can also bring about carpools and mitigate any transportation issues. For first-time parents, connecting with other parents can be tremendously beneficial. Workplaces can offer in-office meetings for parents to get together or set up an online forum for continuous communication.
Not every company might have the means to provide childcare to working parents, but if it is within budget, it can relieve a major stressor for working parents. Finding affordable, safe, and reliable childcare is one of the top concerns of working parents. Larger companies might be able to have an in-house childcare facility that can provide added comfort to parents with younger children. If an in-house facility is out of reach, employers can help subsidize the cost of childcare or offer reimbursement. With inflation, it’s reported that childcare prices are on the rise and are passing the cost of mortgages. Any way to alleviate the financial burden of childcare will help working parents remarkably.
Educate On Health Plans, PTO, And Resources
Kids can bring home all sorts of germs and illnesses from school. Educating employees on their health benefits can prevent the parents from bringing any contagious diseases to work. Employees can’t take full advantage of their healthcare if they are unaware of all of the benefits. Employees should also be aware of their allotted sick days or PTO and advocate for them to use them when necessary. Some companies are starting to offer unlimited PTO for their employees. This rising trend gives employees time to take for themselves to prevent burnout, increase productivity, and focus on their well-being.
Encourage Work/Life Balance
No employee wants to work in an environment where a work/life balance isn’t promoted. The climate of workplaces is changing, and employees want to feel supported and heard. The times of employers expecting employees to put work above everything else (family, school, home, etc.) are over. Boundaries should be respected and encouraging employees to create a balance will avert burnout or unnecessary absences. Give employees mindful breaks where they can take time to focus on their mental health throughout their day.
Juggling job duties with family responsibilities is a difficult task and can be impossible to perfect. Occasionally, employees might run late for work or have to stay home with a sick kid; having an understanding boss can provide unmentionable mental support. Working parents tend to carry added guilt when staying home with a sick kid or having to leave work early for a parent-teacher conference, but with a supportive environment, that extra guilt and stress can diminish.
Alltrust Is Here To Help
The back-to-school season can bring increased absences from work and lessen productivity. It’s a stressful time for parents, and it can sometimes be trial and error to perfect a routine that works best for their family. Hopefully, these suggestions can help employers provide the best work environment for their employees. These opportunities should be available to all employees, not just parents.
At Alltrust, we understand the demands of working parents and want to give employers all the tools and support for their employees. Contact us today to learn how we can help set your employees up for success.