Back to school should make things easier for parents or primary caretakers; however, the school year often comes with its own set of challenges. Here are some tips to help you balance being a caring parent with a career — and how employers can support employees like you too!

For Parents: Organize A Pinch Hitter Team

Getting the “Your child’s sick” call right before an important meeting is the stuff of nightmares. Try organizing a small group of flexible parents to work together in case of emergencies. Having a safety net to fall back on in times of crisis will help ease the influx of unexpected leaves from the office. Parents can rotate and take turns picking up kids, giving rides to practices, etc. Just make sure you give back, whether it’s providing weekend babysitting, or even paying a sitter to be on call with short notice.

For Parents: Request Flexible Work Options

It can be hard to spend quality time with your family, especially if you have a long commute home. Ask your supervisor about the possibility of working some hours remotely–but before you do, create a plan. Offer outlines of specific tasks you can do from home, which tasks would be done in the office, how you’d be tracking your time, and how you’d keep lines of communication open. FingerCheck’s web-based time attendance allows you to log in at home or anywhere there’s a reliable web browser in reach. Make it easy as possible for them to say yes.

For Parents: Keep One Calendar

Separate calendars may seem like the neater, more professional option, but chances are, it’s causing you to drop the ball on both fronts. Keeping everything all in one place will give you a more clear cut idea of what your schedule is looking like and how to best manage your time–and reminds you of what you’re looking forward to!

For Employers: Offer Flexible Work Options

Flexible workers are in some cases actually more productive than their in-office counterparts. Fewer people in the office also means lower utility costs and less equipment to pay for. Parents will appreciate the gesture, which a great motivator to combat the growing problem of high employee turnover in many offices. Plus, less pressure to be done by a certain hour each day and less commuting will free them up to better focus on projects. Just make sure everything is organized and accounted for– the latest in time tracking systems, like the Fingercheck app, make it easy for employees to clock in using their smartphone from any location, and for you to see all that data in one place.

For Employers: Make Family Benefits a Recruiting Draw

Family benefits are awesome ways to sweeten the pot for top talent without damaging your bottom line. By offering maternity and paternity leave, the flexibility to work from home, and a workspace that is kid-friendly, your employees will feel included and supported. Just make sure some of these benefits also extend to those without children–flexible work options, for example, are great for a wide range of employees.

For Employers: Have a Clear Policy On Kids In the Workplace

Allowing kids in the office on certain occasions can be a great morale booster. Just make sure your policies are clear. For example: do employees need to check in with supervisors prior to bringing kids in, and if so, how far in advance? Are certain days absolutely off-limits? Is there an age cut-off? What parts of the office are kids allowed in? Remember: these rules don’t really need to be set in stone, but they need to be a solid starting point to help everyone feel more comfortable–and to fall back on if certain employees abuse their privileges.

What tips do you have for balancing family life with professional life? Do you think it’s important to help employees find that balance? We’d love to hear from you in the comments!

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