Creative ways employers can support working parents during the holidays

School holidays can be an extremely stressful time for employees with childcare responsibilities. We’ve provided some ideas in the past about how parents can manage the juggle, but anything employers can do to help relieve the pressure placed on their staff during these weeks can also help to ensure they feel supported, respected, and understood.

Here’s some of the creative ways we know our featured employers are helping support employees during the school holidays.

Continue to offer the option of remote working

Remote working remains an attractive option for working parents or those with childcare responsibilities, boosting employee engagement, taking away the distraction and hassle of a long commute and allowing them more time with their families. For parents with younger children, the availability of remote working will also allow them to work efficiently and effectively from home whilst also handling any childcare dilemmas that arise during the holidays.

Offer flexibility around working hours

During the school holidays, a traditional 9 to 5 schedule may be difficult for working parents to adhere to. Instead, flexible working arrangements during these times can help provide employees’ with more choice about how and when they get the work done, while also continuing to meet the needs of the business.

Of course for business continuity, and to minimise the impact on colleagues, it is important that some meeting times are kept regular, and core hours maintained where possible, but flexibility around start and end times can remove stress points for those with caring responsibilities.

Offer employees assistance with childcare

One of the most common headaches for working parents during school holidays is access to childcare. Employers can assist by setting up a workplace nursery; providing funding towards childcare, or organising activities in the office for children to be entertained on a day of scheduled meetings as an example.

Consider a reduction in working hours, or reassessing workload during the longer school term breaks

For many with childcare responsibilities, the holidays can add even more tasks to their already busy agenda, needing to consider how to balance professional and childcare needs. Ensuring each employee’s workload is manageable reduces the likelihood of stress, employee dissatisfaction and burnout, and enables the working-parent enough time to focus properly on both their children and career. Considering arrangements such as term-time working or annualised hours can allow businesses to plan the ebb and flow of workloads to deal meet the needs of the business and working parents.

Offering family friendly benefits

Benefits are an important tool for supporting employees, including those with childcare responsibilities. These can range from offering childcare vouchers, to providing discounts to popular retailers, enabling parents to cut down the bill for the weekly shop or treat the family. Another benefit gaining popularity is annual leave buying and selling. This benefit could help those workers looking to spend more time with their children during the longer summer holiday break, purchasing any extra time where needed.

You can find out more about our individual Featured Employers and their approach to creating family friendly workplaces here.