How to Help Employees Manage Back to School Stress

Posted by Andrew on August 20, 2018

education-908512_1920Summertime is a break for working parents from parent-teacher conferences, after-school activities, and shopping for school clothes and supplies. Now that summer is winding down, employees with children may be showing signs of stress as they try to reengage for the upcoming school season. While it’s not an employer’s job to manage their employees’ personal lives, a good work-life balance is crucial to keeping the workforce happy and productive. The following are several ways employers can help employees ease back into the school season:

  1. Be cognizant of employee needs. Small to mid-size companies have an easier time of it, but all companies, regardless of size, should be aware of their employees’ needs. Learning who has children can help managers and company leadership work with employees to prepare for the back to school season. Team meetings represent a great opportunity to remind staff that it’s time to prepare for the new school year and discuss any challenges this may present. For example, some employees may need more time to complete a project than usual to allow them to make sure their child is ready for the upcoming school season.
  2. Remind staff of their leave. It’s easy for employees to think of paid leave as for vacations or illnesses only. However, many company policies include personal leave or utilize an overall paid time off (PTO) bank that employees can use for any purpose. Some states even provide 24-hours of unpaid leave for qualified employees to address their children’s educational and medical needs. Employers and managers should remind staff members that a positive work-life balance is important and to use their leave if they need to.
  3. Be flexible. Employees often have to arrange childcare for children before and after school. Sometimes these arrangements fall through and the employee must scramble to find proper care. Other times, the cost of childcare is too expensive for employees to manage morning and evening care. One way to help alleviate this issue is to allow for flexible start times. For example, if an employee usually works 7:30-3:30, consider allowing them to work 9-5 instead or vice versa. This can allow them to take their kids to school or pick them up from school depending on which situation works better for them. This can help them solve the problem of short-notice childcare and the related expenses. Another option is to allow employees to work from home for a certain number of hours for the first couple of weeks of school while they establish their new routine.

Employees who struggle with stress at home and at work are more prone to unexpected absence. Employees who feel like their employers care about work-life balances have better attendance records, are more loyal, and have better productivity. Helping employees cope with stressful periods in their life can help them manage their responsibilities at home while keeping up with their work. To learn more about reducing employee absences, contact the experts at Actec.