For kids, six weeks off school is a dream but for working parents, somewhat of a nightmare. Trying to entertain their children, whilst maintaining their workload can be tricky. So what can employers do to help support working parents during the school holidays?
One of the most important things is to ensure that you are approachable as an employer. Your employees should feel comfortable bringing forward any problems or worries they are having. This includes childcare. It is better for employees to be open and honest if they are struggling through the school holidays so that you can help tackle the issue. If the problem is left unresolved you may start to experience increased absence, lower employee productivity, and lower employee engagement.
If you can, continue to offer the option to work from home. If childcare issues arise then the parents would then be able to look after their children whilst working from home. Do not be put off knowing that their children will be around whilst they work. Many parents have had to home-school at some point over the last 18 months, so have had plenty of practice at dealing with distractions. Remote working is attractive for parents during the school holidays. It removes the need to commute, which in turn allows the parent more time in the mornings and evenings with their families.
Parents are likely to have a lot more on their plate during the summer holidays. Not only are they busy with their workload, but they are also busy arranging things to do and places to go for their children. It is so important that the employee’s workload is manageable. During the school holidays, it may be wise to also consider your employees’ ‘workload’ outside of work. You do not want your employees to struggle as this increases the chances of stress, burnout, and employee dissatisfaction. Employers could consider implementing arrangements where parents who need to, are able to reduce their hours or workload during this period. Planning ahead is important if you are to do this. As an employer, you will need to ensure that both the needs of the employees and the business are met.
Offering a little flexibility around working hours could really help working parents. The typical 9-5 hours may present a challenge to parents who are sorting their children out in the morning or taking them to childcare. With a little flexibility around start and finish times, employees could start a little later and finish a little later. This way employees won’t be rushing around in the morning. Although it is important to ensure that the working day is not disrupted too much and the needs of the business are met.
I’m sure many parents have experienced a childcare emergency at least once. Arranged childcare falls through last minute, leaving parents stranded with their child when they need to start work in a matter of hours. This can result in many parents phoning in sick to take care of their child. Employers could help with securing reliable childcare in a number of ways. Some include: setting up a workplace nursery, providing funding towards childcare, reserving holiday day-care places. This may seem like a big contribution for employers, however, it will only benefit you and your employee. If your employees have reliable childcare they are less likely to take sick days to take care of their children, as well as being more focused and less stressed at work.
Supporting working parents during school holidays will not only benefit them but you too. If your workforce is happy then typically employee productivity and engagement increase. Adopting any of the options above can help to relieve the pressure placed on employees during the holidays. The help you provide will not go unnoticed either. If you show that as an employer you are willing to go the extra mile for your employees, they are more likely to go the extra mile for you.
It is important that you do what is best for both your employees and your business. At HPC we can offer advice surrounding this topic. If you would like to speak to one of the team about how to manage your staff during the summer holidays please get in touch.
If you have any concerns or would like to discuss the topics within this article further, please get in contact with the HPC team today.
T: 0844 800 5932