2022 Back to School is upon us and is it back to normal? No mask requirements in the classroom and well – MonkeyPox is looming in the back of our minds sure- but mostly we are concerned with the basic excitement and uneasy uncertainty all parents and children feel during that first day back!
We are getting in the swing of things when it comes to remote/hybrid work schedules but now after the long lazy days of summer the pace is picking back up. It’s back to the fun frenzied family life as open houses, meet the teacher, band recitals, soccer practice, STEM club and all the things come back into focus. It’s a juggling act to say the least but here’s a few tips to help you and your employees balance back to school and working from home this fall.
- Take a quick glance backward.
Look back at how you handled things last school year. What went well? What didn’t? Did you take advantage of available resources for help? Were you able to carve out a suitable workspace? Who took care of homework and extracurriculars? How did you fit forty hours of work into the week?
Your transition from a sluggish summer schedule to a regular school-time tempo will go more smoothly if you identify lessons learned and apply new strategies. If this is your first time balancing a remote schedule with back to school, don’t worry follow the next 4 tips for a better experience for the whole family.
- Create a Plan.
We are no stranger to calendars when it comes to deadlines and meetings in the workplace, but now we have a new back to school schedule to bring into the mix and what sports or activities are the kids participating in this year? Do you add these items to your outlook or Teams calendar? You should! Avoid the headache of overscheduling yourself and add the household schedule to you work calendar or vice versa. Stay two weeks to a month ahead, if possible, to get that big picture and be able to plan accordingly. Of course, things will come up and sometimes schools and coaches get information out late…which brings us to the next tip.
- Be Flexible!
Life Happens. If you have the option to be more flexible in your work schedule and haven’t taken advantage of it yet, now is the time to use it. You may not be in a position where you can work from home every day, but whatever your work arrangement, a more flexible schedule will allow you to balance household responsibilities and work-related obligations. Today more than ever employers recognize the importance of family commitments and the need for flexibility in your schedule so ask for it.
- Tag in an Assist.
Share responsibilities with a partner, family members or older children. Identify the people in your circle who have your back like you have theirs. Make an emergency call list for those inevitable moments that a plan falls through or something unexpected creeps up on you. Maybe partner with adults or parents outside your household whose schedules might align or intersect. Scheduling apps for activities or sports teams are another a great way to communicate! It takes a village!
- Over Communication can be key!
Successful remote work cultures must always visit the underlying question: Is the work getting done? Thoughtful communication with those in the workplace that depend on you, can be the key to making sure this question never applies to you. Developing clear expectations of when you’re available and when you can work early/late to make up for time spent taking care of the family during the day.
Another good rule of thumb is to drop a line in the team chat whenever you’re away from your desk longer than 30 minutes or add personal appointments or blocked out time on a calendar your colleagues can see. Reach out to your manager and colleagues when you’re in need; don’t be afraid to ask for help or let them know you are behind on a deadline. Remember to return the favor when you’re available and let your team members know you’re there to help!
HR departments are encouraged to share these tips like these with their employees it helps to open lines of communication and create that family friendly culture. Best wishes to everyone getting the kids back to school this fall and finding that work-life balance we all crave!