Back-to-school time is not all #2 pencils and new school supplies. Perhaps you know the struggle: childcare, extracurricular activities, parent-teacher conferences, and oh yeah, a demanding job to handle as well!
During the summer, working at the office until 6:00 p.m. may be an option. But during the school year, working moms and dads can be seen heading for the door at 5:00 p.m. on the dot, sometimes earlier, to rush home for after school pick up, baseball practice and poster board projects.
However, just because an employee can’t stay late doesn’t mean they’re not invested in their work. Managers should be in tune to this dynamic.
In Dana Wilkie’s SHRM article, “How Employers Can Help Working Parents During Back-to-School Season”, she documents the burden that working parents face: “…51 percent of working parents said that back-to-school interferes with work”. Along with this, working parents were recorded as missing more days of work as school started back up, and were reported as feeling less productive than their non-parental peers.
As an employer, here are a few situations to prepare for as the school year approaches:
- Increased employee absenteeism due to sickness/child-care issues
- Tardiness associated with transportation logistics
- Employees leaving early due to school events or child care
In addition to this, let’s also remember that education is not just for children. Employees themselves might be continuing their education. They may have personal goals to obtain a master’s degree, learn a new skill, or enhance their current skills. To help parent/student employees succeed during back-to-school time, consider these options:
1. Flexible Working Arrangements
To help moms, dads, and working students, consider the various ways that Flexible Working Arrangements could benefit you and your employees. At Tilson, we have found that offering reasonable FWAs can be both effective and motivating. Education and family are a big part of our culture, so we strive to create an accommodating environment. If you would like to learn more about FWAs and how they could help your company click here.
2. Education Reimbursements
As for those employees who have chosen to continue their education, those late nights and weekend study sessions should be rewarded. For our own staff, certifications are incentivized by a company reimbursement. This not only shows that we value their relentless pursuit of excellence, but it also serves as a morale booster and a nice congratulatory reward for a job well done. If you would like to learn about how your company can incorporate such a program, feel free to reach out to your Tilson Service Team.
Back-to-school time has its challenges, but with that comes opportunity. So be sure to remember the golden rule of management: win-win-win. Helping employees to reach their potential will be a win for them, a win for you, and a win for the company!