It’s that time of year again! The start of school can be stressful for any family—new routines, a change in schedule, a tough transition for everyone. And no matter what, the chances are good that some of that stress will carry over into your employees’ work life, so it could be a tough transition for you too. As an employer with employees who have kids going back to school, you can take some steps to show your support and to help the transition go as smooth as possible.

5 Ways To Support Your Employees

1. Anticipate needs

The best way to help business run smoothly as the school year starts is to predict what needs there will be in your company. You should know who has school age children, who has childcare lined up, and who may still be struggling to do so. In other words, know which staff members are going to have conflicts and which areas of your company will be impacted. If you can, line up some back-up staff or make temporary arrangements so that all duties are covered while we wait for everyone to adjust to the new bus schedule or find that after school sitter.

2. Remind employees of company policies

Reassure your employees that you have their back and that you have policies lined up to support their family life. This peace of mind can go a long way in ensuring employee loyalty. You probably have some PTO policy in place to allow for parents to miss time for conferences, afterschool meetings, or medical appointments. In fact, it might even be mandated by the state you live in. Make sure your employees know how much time they have and work with them to understand whether they’re using paid sick, vacation, or personal time and how they should provide notice about using that time.

3. Offer some flexibility

If your employees have to come in a little late in the mornings or leave a little early to care for their kids those first few weeks, work with them. Allow them to make up missed time by doing a little extra at home that night. Flexible working arrangements are big right now and a great way to recruit, retain, and engage your employees. You might find it’s more convenient to have employees use compressed work weeks, telecommuting, or job sharing.

4. Provide employee assistance programs

Your company might provide childcare resource or referral system to help your employees find quality afterschool sitters or childcare subsidies. Knowing there are backup plans in place will help your staff to relax and focus on their work.

5. Update your family-friendly policies

Show your employees that you support their families by providing tools they need to do their jobs and manage their households. Many companies are offering parental leave, childcare, childcare subsidies, and other flex spending accounts to help employees with childcare costs

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