Anthem

Support Your Employees Navigating Back-to-School Uncertainty

Read time: 1 minute 45 seconds

Summary: As a new school year begins, working parents face unprecedented stress and uncertainty. Help your employees navigate these challenging times with these resources.

One year ago, deciding which school supplies to buy was a major back-to-school decision. But this school year, many parents must decide whether to keep their children home or send them to school. Making matters worse is the uncertainty of how long either option might last.

Different schools are offering in-person classes, remote learning only, or a hybrid model of both. To help their children, your employees are balancing work and family life in a whole new way.

Here are some tips to help your employees during this time:

1. Offer as much flexibility as possible.

Your employees, especially working parents, might need some extra flexibility right now. Open lines of communication will help everyone. Encourage employees to talk to their managers or supervisor about adjusting their schedules. They may need to help their child log into school meetings throughout the day or even teach themselves.

Many employees are working more hours right now between work and family. Offering flexibility can go a long way to help them manage these new responsibilities.

2. Consider a survey so you can serve all employees.

A survey could help you understand what your employees need during this time. Every school is handling this school year in a different way. Some decisions even vary within the same districts.

Seeing what your employees are juggling can help you determine whether to open an office. It can also help set schedules and policies. Making the survey anonymous will help your employees provide honest, unfiltered feedback.

3. Encourage your employees to get help if they need it.

All this uncertainty, stress and anxiety is taking its toll. In July, 53 percent of adults reported that stress has affected their mental health. This is much higher than the 32 percent reported in March. Your employees might not know they have access to employee assistance programs (EAP). which can provide valuable information to improve their well-being and work performance.

Telehealth counseling services may also provide relief to employees. Many parents are struggling to make some very difficult choices. Reminding your employees they have support and access to mental health resources can make a big difference.

4. Revisit your vacation policy.

Many employees are not traveling this year or taking much needed time away from work. Remind your employees of the importance of taking a break, or if you can, consider reworking your vacation policy. Your employees might appreciate being able to take an hour or two during the day and count it toward vacation, if necessary.

While these tactics will not ease all the strain and uncertainty your employees are facing, they can help your workforce feel supported.