FlexJobs reports that at least 90.8% of the 33.6 million families with at least one child at home under the age of 18 have at least one employed parent. That’s a lot of employees who are getting ready for the upcoming school year!
August marks the end of summer transition towards the beginning of a new school year. For working parents, that can mean adjusting to new routines, new schedules and new after-school programs. It can be a stressful time for families. And this period of adjustment can throw a wrench in work/life balance. In fact, 51 percent of working parents said back-to-school interferes with work.
Luckily, employers can help bring empathy (and resources!) to a stressful situation. HR teams understand the opportunity that back-to-school time brings to shine a light on the benefits you provide that can help employees ease the transition.
Use these campaign recommendations to help working parents, caregivers and other loved ones manage the stress during the back-to-school season!
Set Your Campaign Objectives
A lot of employer-sponsored plans have benefits that can help ease the burden of back-to-school stress for working parents. Promote engagement in products and resources that can help employees manage the season:
- Dependent Care FSAs – for before-/after-school care, licensed day care centers, and nursery schools to qualifying care for dependent adults and summer day camps
- EAP – for reducing parenting stress and managing work-life balance
- Paid Time Off – for juggling those back-to-school hiccups
- 529 college savings account program – for family financial planning
Ideas to Set your Campaign Up for Success
- Proactively communicate with staff about work schedules and the potential for flexibility.
- Encourage employees to be as proactive as possible in creating plans to meet deadlines and commitments as they adjust to back-to-school season.
- Increase employee engagement through your benefits communication and other benefits resources.
BONUS TIP: Afford Flexibility to Everyone
How do you handle a season where employees without school-age children may feel like they’re getting the short end of the flexibility stick? Invest in fostering a company culture that supports everyone’s need for lifestyle flexibility. That way, all employees – whether they’re a pet parent, caretaking for a loved one or otherwise balancing a busy work-life – can enjoy the benefits of a company that values their whole-person priorities.
Try This Communications Plan and Timeline
Pick a week to engage employees in activities and resources that can help them prepare for and better shoulder the burden of back-to-school. Consider this timeline of activities:
- Send a kick-off email.
- Share information regarding work schedules, potential for flexibility and other accommodations.
- Host a lunch & learn for managers about supporting working parents on their team.
- Send an email highlighting employer-sponsored benefits and resources.
- Set up an ERG where working parents at your company can connect and share tips.
- Host a lunch & learn where employees can learn more about their work/life balance benefits.
- Send an email promoting your company’s Dependent Care FSA.
- Share tips on how to stay healthy with kids going back to school via corporate social channels.
- Host an “open house” for employees to discuss back-to-school related issues in a 1:1 setting.
- Send an email promoting your company’s EAP.
- Post a link to your wellness app on your corporate social channel.
- Encourage managers to conduct well-being 1:1s or check-ins.
- Send an email wrapping up the campaign, including links to all resources and encouraging employees to reach out to your team for help, guidance, or questions.