School is Out for Summer: How to Best Support Your Employees
As summer approaches and schools close for the season, companies must find ways to support their parent employees during this challenging time. To help you navigate this period, we’ve gathered nine expert tips from CEOs, founders, and HR professionals on how to best support parent employees while their kids are out of school. From providing high-quality childcare options to embracing flexible work schedules, these insights will help your company create a supportive environment for working parents this summer.
- Provide High-Quality Childcare Options
- Offer Childcare Allowance
- Embrace Asynchronous Work Schedules
- Encourage Employee-Led Parenting Networks
- Adjust Meeting Times for Summer Schedules
- Engage in Open Conversations with Parents
- Promote Remote Work and Flexibility
- Foster Communication and Understanding
- Consider Temporary Leave Options
Provide High-Quality Childcare Options
If you want to ensure that your company’s parental employees can maintain their work-life balance, then it’s important to offer them high-quality childcare options.
This can be as on-site childcare facilities, daycare vouchers, or even a childcare subsidy. By doing this, you’ll be helping to ensure that these parents can stay productive at work without having to worry about finding childcare for their children.
Furthermore, offering childcare benefits will help improve retention rates and help you attract new talent from the growing millennial workforce who are becoming more and more focused on work-life balance.
Offer Childcare Allowance
As a working parent myself, I know how stressful it can be to juggle work and childcare during school breaks. One tip that has helped me, and I believe could greatly benefit companies, is to offer a childcare allowance. This allows parents the freedom to choose and pay for childcare services that are best suited for their family. It also shows that the company values and supports their parent employees by recognizing the added financial burden that comes with childcare during school breaks. This small gesture can go a long way in boosting employee morale and loyalty, ultimately leading to a more productive work environment.
Embrace Asynchronous Work Schedules
Be flexible about when they work. If your industry doesn’t require in-person work, offering your team the opportunity to be hybrid or work asynchronously can be a great way to help parent employees.
Asynchronous work in particular can save them big on childcare and allow them to get their work done when their children are in bed, giving them more time to spend with their families during the day. It also allows your employees to work when they feel they are the most productive. While this strategy can work year-round, it’s also a great option for a summer season perk.
Encourage Employee-Led Parenting Networks
One of the best ways for companies to support parent employees during summer break is to encourage the formation of employee-led parenting networks. These networks provide a supportive community for employees to share tips and advice on how to balance work and parenting responsibilities during the summer months.
Companies can facilitate these networks by providing meeting space, resources for child care, and even hosting events that allow parents to bring their children to work. By prioritizing the needs of working parents, companies can foster a more inclusive and supportive workplace culture.
Adjust Meeting Times for Summer Schedules
Many working parents will switch kids directly from a school schedule to a summer camp schedule. In the work setting, it’s helpful to use or plan for that moment. Standing meetings normally right before school ends may need to move to another time slot because the summer camp schedule is rarely an exact match for the school year schedule.
Engage in Open Conversations with Parents
Every family will have their own unique set of challenges when kids are out of school. The best thing you can do is ask how you can help make work/life balance easier for them. This can happen in a roundtable discussion with multiple parents from your organization or one at a time. Either way, have the conversation in a scheduled way so that it stimulates valuable dialogue.
Promote Remote Work and Flexibility
If the employee works in a role that can be done remotely, giving working parents that option can be a game-changer for their work-life balance. It can also be very helpful for their expenses since the option to stay at home with the kids can cut down on the cost of summer child care.
One of the great things about extending flexibility in the summer is that it won’t only help the parents on your team, either. It also opens up the possibility of workcations, for example, letting people with or without kids travel and enjoy the summer weather without needing to use as much PTO or the hassle of coordinating their trip around major projects or coworkers’ vacation plans.
There are also ways to give employees more flexibility without adding remote work, like by giving parents the option of 4-day workweeks in the summer.
Foster Communication and Understanding
The obvious (and critical) answer is to be flexible with work schedules, however, achieving this requires consistent communication and understanding between employees and managers. There needs to be a compromise on both sides. People leaders can say they’ll be supportive only to get frustrated with schedule changes. And employees must put time and focus in at odd hours if need be.
We can accomplish all of this by keeping lines of communication open and transparent. That’s what creates trust.
Consider Temporary Leave Options
I think the best way to support them is by offering a temporary leave or absence from work. Parents want to spend time with their kids, and kids want their attention during the holidays. So allowing them to take a break and letting them be flexible with their work hours would ease some of the stress from their minds, as it’s challenging to be fully present at work when your mind is preoccupied with family responsibilities.
Offering temporary leave is a small gesture, but it shows your commitment to supporting your employees’ work-life balance and fosters an overall positive culture.
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