School holidays can be a stressful time for your staff, especially if you don’t have policies or procedures in place to support them during this time.
Here are ten things you can do as an employer to help reduce stress for your staff during school holidays:
Taking leave during school holidays
It’s only natural that staff with children will want to take leave during the school holiday period. Think about how this might impact on teams within your organisation and make plans in the lead up to it, so it doesn’t become a problem.
Don’t plan any big projects
Don’t plan for any big projects to begin or end during school holiday periods or expect staff to be available to work extended hours in these periods either.
Allow purchasing of extra leave
There are approximately twelve weeks of school holidays per year and employees are typically offered only four weeks of leave. Allowing staff to purchase extra leave if they would like to can relieve some of the pressure of trying to make holiday care arrangements.
Offer reduced hours
For parents or carers that struggle to find care for their children, or who just want a bit of extra time at home during the school holidays, consider offering the option of working reduced hours during this time.
Understand the guilt associated with the school holidays
There can be a lot of guilt felt by working parents during the school holidays. They want to provide a fun and memorable time for their children and they feel like they are missing out on quality time with them. When you understand this, you can help relieve some of the guilt by being more open to providing flexible working arrangements which allow for a more positive home/work balance.
Plan meeting times carefully
Make a company policy or rule that meetings shouldn’t be held during early mornings or late afternoons during the school holiday period. This is the most stressful time of the day for many parents as they rush to drop off or pick up their child from holiday programs.
Understand care arrangements
Do you know what care options your staff are utilising during the school holidays? Understanding the options that are available to families is an important part of supporting them during this time. Are they relying on family? Are they using school holiday programs or friends to care for their children?
Subsidise the cost of school holiday programs for your staff
It’s an innovative idea, but some large organisations offer to pay part of the cost of holiday care programs for the children of their staff. This helps relieve the financial burden of paying for care and ensures your staff are available to work during the school holiday period.
Allow staff to work from home
If you allow one or two days of working from home each week, this can be helpful during the school holiday period. Work can still be completed while children are cared for in their own home and means staff need to take less leave.
Make plans for the Christmas holidays now
Planning early is key to relieving some of the stress associated with the Christmas holiday period. School holidays are approximately six weeks long during this time, meaning a lot of care arrangements have to be made.
It is important to remember that the school holidays can be a stressful time for your staff. By supporting them during this time you will see many benefits for both your organisation. You will be perceived as an employer of choice, increase loyalty from your employees and reduce the levels of stress in your office environment.