Back to School: How Employers Can Help

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The beginning of the school year is right around the corner. For many working parents, this hectic time of year is already impacting their lives. Some may be striving to get their children ready for a return to the classroom. Others may be making arrangements to navigate a virtual or hybrid model.

Regardless of the educational approach, back-to-school is typically a stressful time. If you want to make sure that parent and guardian employees feel well supported during their challenging period, here are some ways that you can help.

Provide Flexibility

Many workplaces don’t need employees to be available at specific times. If that applies to your company, then providing your workforce with some scheduling flexibility is a wise move.

When you provide team members with flexibility, you support better work-life balance. Allow your employees to make slight schedule adjustments when necessary. That way, they can handle their family responsibilities and remain fully productive.

Often, shifting to a results-oriented approach can make this easier. Essentially, as long as an employee’s assignments are completed on time when they do the work isn’t relevant. This mindset lets you concentrate on outcomes, not minutiae, something that can be beneficial in the long run.

If you offer flexibility, make sure it isn’t only available to parents and guardians. Many other members of your workforce may be dealing with a wide range of personal challenges where flexibility could make a difference. Additionally, by ensuring it’s an option for everyone, you avoid any issues of perceived favoritism.

Offer Remote Work Options

Many parents and guardians can benefit from remote work options. They can remain home if their children are learning virtually or can spend part of the day working remotely if the children need someone home after in-person school sessions end.

For many companies, offering remote work options is simpler than ever. Due to the pandemic, many employers had to implement new solutions to support telecommuting. As a result, the needed technology is likely still in place.

Like flexibility, try to apply any remote work policies broadly. That way, anyone who could benefit from the arrangement can potentially access this benefit.

Ensure Employees Are Reachable

Being able to contact an employee during an emergency is essential once the school year begins. Make sure that there is a way for school officials or caregivers to reach parents and guardians during the workday.

If your employees use phones that can’t be dialed directly, create a system for critical child-related notifications. For example, you could allow personal devices at workstations or set up a company phone number specifically for child-related emergencies that is continuously monitored, ensuring an employee can contact a parent or guardian if the need arises.

Talk to Your Employees

Communication can make a big difference in the workplace. By checking in with your employees regularly, you can gauge their current state and, if the need arises, offer more direct support. Additionally, it allows you to demonstrate that you care for your team, something that can have a significant impact on morale.

Ultimately, all of the tips above can help parents and guardians with back-to-school. If you’d like to learn more about how you can effectively support your workforce, the team at VB can help. Contact us today.