School holidays account for approximately twelve weeks of every year. If you have parents working for your organisation (and, really, who doesn’t?) school holidays are going to have an effect on the productivity of your business whether you are prepared for it or not.
For working parents, school holidays can mean stress and a juggling of commitments. It can also affect their productivity by:
It’s only natural that parents and carers will want to take leave during school holiday periods, so they can spend time with their children or go on holidays as a family. Always plan to have staff absent during the school holidays and make sure you have procedures in place to cater for the reduction in your workforce at these times.
Arriving late and leaving early
School holidays usually means a change in care arrangements. Some families utilise school holiday programs, while others rely on family and friends to help share the care load. In any case, a change in working hours might be necessary. Children need to be dropped off and picked up and this is not always possible outside of work hours.
Unexpected days off
It happens during term-time too, but school holidays can mean that staff need to take unexpected days off. It’s not just sickness that results in days away from work. Parents and carers make arrangements for their children during the school holidays but sometimes these don’t work out as planned. When children are looked after by relatives or friends, sometimes their circumstances change, and they can no longer take them for the day. Parents and carers aren’t always able to secure last-minute holiday program bookings and a day off is sometimes the only option.
It’s an oldie but a goodie – parents often feel guilty they aren’t spending more time with their children. Working parents can feel a lot of pressure to provide fun and exciting activities for their children during the school holidays so it’s normal for them to worry about this. Plus, it’s hard to feel like a fun parent when you’re stuck at work. This can result in distracted staff who are far from being their most productive.
School holidays are a regular occurrence in the calendar year. Make sure your organisation is ready for change in working conditions and a possible loss of productivity unless you make some arrangements to prepare for it.