According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a 2021 study showed that about 63% of employed families have both parents employed, which means that during the back-to-school season, parents are scrambling to make time and organize themselves to ensure a smooth, stress-free transition back to the academic school year.
The stresses of the back-to-school season doesn’t end with the students, they stretch beyond the school grounds and into the homes affecting parents and caregivers alike. School orientations, meetings, work deadlines, eventually overlap and parents need to find a way to ensure their kids are eased back into the academic year without it affecting their jobs.
A 2015 survey showed that 51% of working parents said that the back-to-school season interferes with their work, whether it’s absence, less productivity or distractions due to their children’s demands.1 Moreover, parents’ work schedules rarely align with their children’s school hours. Most schools end their classes between 3 and 4 pm, which means that kids will require some sort of care during the gap, not to mention holiday breaks, sick days, just to name a few.
So how can employers address the back-to-school season without affecting work productivity? There are a few effective ways, some easier than others, but if applied correctly, can work wonders with employee motivation and increase workplace productivity.
1- Flexible Hours
Employers can apply flexible hours, removing the 9 to 5 limitations and easing up intervals in which parents have to work. For example, if parents need to drop-off/pick-up their kids, a leeway in the morning/afternoon can be given for those parents without affecting their performance. A bigger issue is the fact that working parents tend to feel a lot more stressed and worry more during the first couple of weeks of the season, leaving room for underperformance and not meeting deadlines. A temporary, flexible schedule removes doubt and gives a bit of “wiggle” room for working parents.
2- Remote Working
A lot of people felt comfortable enough to work from home during the COVID pandemic and began getting used to the idea that working from home is just as effective as going to the office. This notion allows for a new approach to understanding working parents during the back-to-school season, where companies would allow a remote working policy post pandemic, and through the season. Parents who need to help their children with homework can be allowed to work from home if needed, giving them ample time to catch up on their projects without hindering deadlines, especially if projects can be completed in the off-hours.
3- Communication is Key
One of the most important ways managers can show their support is to be understanding of the working parents’ worries. While parents want to make sure the back-to-school transition is seamless and easy for the kids, they also want to make sure their jobs are unaffected, and the more pressure is put on the parents, the more likely their jobs will suffer. Communication is super important, and things as simple as asking “how are your kids doing?” can be all the motivation they need to ensure a smooth transition into the school year.
4- eGift Cards
eGift Cards can be a great way to help out parents during their journey into the academic year. eGift Cards are not just for occasion-based events.A few ways companies use eGift Cards is via rewarding, giving their employees incentives, motivation and a sense of belonging in the workplace. They’re quick, easy to send and extremely practical. The time crunch of shopping for school supplies, stationary, books, can be offset with a single eGift Card that covers the entirety of the child’s requirements for the year. These eGift Cards can be sent in bulk or individually, making it a super easy way to show your employees you care.
If you’re looking to make sure that this back-to-school season is stress-free for your employed parents, feel free to connect with us. Our Rewards program is the perfect platform to help incentivize, motivate and make your employees as comfortable as possible during the stress-filled season.