Tag Archives: flexible scheduling

Back to School – How HR can help navigate the transition for working parents

Back to school can be a stressful time for working parents. Trying to get children settled into a new routine while scrambling to fulfill work obligations is no small task. Fortunately, there are a few ways HR can help with this transition and reduce friction.


Offer Flexible Scheduling

A study by Care.com found, “More than 40 percent of respondents said they arrive at work late and leave early during the back-to-school season.” This shows that punctuality basically goes out the window during this period. One of the best ways to accommodate the needs of working parents is to offer flexible hours and give them some slack during the first few weeks of a new school year.

Here are a few examples of flexible working arrangements that can help:

  • Allow employees to adjust their schedule so they can come in a bit later than normal
  • Offer shift breaks at specific times parents need to leave the workplace
  • Offer reduced hours during the back to school period

Discuss various possibilities with your staff to see what works best for them. Keep in mind that you won’t necessarily need to offer flexible scheduling year-round. It’s just for a two- to three-week period.


Provide Telecommuting Options

Another effective way to reduce stress levels is to allow your employees to telecommute in the fall. The luxury of working from home gives them wiggle room to be there for their kids while remaining productive. This working arrangement is actually a lot more common than you may think.

A 2015 Gallup report notes that 37 percent of the U.S workforce telecommutes to some extent. This number is likely to keep rising in upcoming years as technology continues to advance. There are numerous software platforms available that can aid in this process and streamline collaboration. Some popular platforms include:

  • Basecamp
  • Asana
  • Wrike
  • Slack

In theory, nearly any digital task can be done from home. Even partial telecommuting can take the pressure off of working parents.


Consider Back-Up Childcare

This is an employer-sponsored benefit where you contribute financially to offer childcare arrangements for your employees’ children. Employees typically receive a designated number of days each year (e.g. 20 – 30), so they can take advantage whenever the need strikes.

Back-up childcare covers the tumultuous back to school period as well as sick days or when schools are closed due to inclement weather. You can learn more about back-up childcare here.

Back to school can be an incredibly difficult time for working parents. Their plates are piled high and stress levels can increase. You can help them navigate this transition by thinking ahead and implementing these tactics. It makes your employees’ lives easier and also reduces tardiness and absenteeism.




Should Your Business Offer Flexible Scheduling?

Flexible scheduling has gained considerable momentum over the past few years. This shift is largely due to the high volume of millennials entering the workforce who view things much differently than the baby boomers who are leaving. Does flexible scheduling make sense for your business?


A New Labor Force

There has been a significant shift in terms of age demographics in the labor force. Millennials (people born roughly between 1980 – 1995) now account for a sizable portion of the workforce. The Pew Research Center reports, “There were 53.5 million millennials in the workforce in 2015 even eclipsing Gen Xers at 52.7 million.”

Why is this important?

Millennials think differently than most of their Baby Boomer and Gen X counterparts. Many millennials crave a healthy work-life balance and value flexible scheduling. According to a study from Bentley University, “77 percent of millennials say flexible work hours would make them more productive at work.”

Another study from PwC found:

  • 64 percent of millennials would like to occasionally work from home
  • 66 of millennials would like to shift their work hours
  • 15 percent of male employees say they would give up some of their pay and slow the pace of promotion in exchange for working fewer hours
  • 21 percent of female employees say the same


In short, flexible scheduling is something that appeals to most millennials. With Bentley University reporting, “By 2025, millennials will make up as much as 75 percent of the global workforce,” flexible scheduling is at least something to consider. This could serve as a valuable recruiting tool and is likely to reduce employee turnover — something that’s very costly.


Other Benefits

This is just the tip of the iceberg. There are several other advantages to offering flexible work schedules. One advantage is lower overhead costs. When employees telecommute even part of the time, it reduces expenses like utilities, office equipment, paper consumption and more.

There also appears to be a correlation between flexible scheduling and lower absenteeism and tardiness. When employees are able to address their personal needs and work around their families, there’s a tendency to show up on time and be more fully engaged. Many employers have even found that their employees use less of their sick days.

Besides this, flexible scheduling often boosts job satisfaction and overall employee morale. When workers are empowered to structure their work schedules in accordance with their personal needs, it’s only natural that they’ll be happier.


Software and Apps

One reason many employers are reluctant to embrace this working arrangement is the fear that communication will break down and output will suffer. Fortunately, there are a myriad of software platforms and apps available that make for seamless telecommuting. They enable you to manage your employees just as effectively as if they were physically in the workplace. Check out Inc.com for tools you can use to manage a remote team.

As Bob Dylan would say, “The times they are a changin’.” The millennial generation has brought with it new ideas on what constitutes a well-run workplace. While flexible scheduling doesn’t make sense for every business, it’s definitely something to consider and can make your company more competitive on many levels.