Many kids have already started back to school. Others will be heading back in the coming weeks. From all the online videos and memes, you’d think parents are feeling nothing but joy. That’s not always the case, though. Many employees with children experience stress during the back-to-school season. For some, there’s the financial stress of it all, especially for those employees will college and private school kids. For others, it’s the change in routine and schedule, and the added pressure of attending events and being involved in thing or that. Many will struggle with the fear of missing those events.
Those stressors impact your employees’ productivity and work-life balance.
As a manager, you can’t remove the expenses and stress that come with a new school year, but you can take steps to ensure that the workplace isn’t making it worse. Follow these tips to help your employees transition from summer to fall as easily as possible:
- Be empathetic. If you have children yourself, this may come more easily to you. But if you’ve never really considered the cost (or added stress) of a new school year to parents, take a moment to put yourself in your employees’ shoes.
- Be flexible. The degree of flexibility that you can offer will vary from field to field and workplace to workplace, but be flexible where you can. That might mean allowing employees to leave work early to pick up their kids and then make up those hours from home in the evening. It might mean giving them shifts that coincide better with their children’s schedules. It might mean giving them flex time or even allowing them to leave early if they’re on top of their assignments. Of course, stay within the bounds of your organization’s policies.
- Don’t be a distraction. This should be common sense, but as we all know, common sense isn’t always common practice. Don’t give your employees more reasons to be less productive. That means that you shouldn’t be sidetracking them from their tasks by micromanaging their assignments, forcing them to attend meetings that don’t relate to their work, surprising them with off-topic requests or interrupting their work “just to chat.” I’m not suggesting you be unfriendly, but recognize when employees are in the zone and save the chitchat for the break room.
Have you noticed the effect of back-to-school stress in your workplace? How do you combat it?