1. Allow time for routines to settle in
September can be a time where employees are trying to establish a routine that works best for them. Between adjusting to increased traffic and travel times, dropping kids off at school, picking them up from school, or even overcoming the “summer mentality” that can often reside in workplaces, employees may need some time to adjust to new schedules.
This does not mean that you have to offer flex-time or be completely accommodating to random hours of work, however, it’s a suggestion that a small grace-period could be beneficial in alleviating some of the stress your employees have while adjusting to new September routines.
2. Offer flexibility where you can for your employees
This is not to suggest that employees should be able to disregard company policies and rules without consequences– but it does mean that there should be an understanding for employees who have unexpected situations arise. For employees that have children unexpected illness, situations at school, or weather conditions can happen that make it difficult for them to arrive on time, or to stay for their required hours.
To help make situations like this go smoothly, it’s beneficial to create a policy and communicate a plan so that employees know what to do and what is expected of them in these circumstances. It is important to be understanding of these situations, but also fair and consistent in how you, as an employer, approach addressing them when the time comes. This is why a fairly implemented policy ensures that all employees are treated equally, ultimately reducing the potential for conflict in the workplace.
3. Communicate company goals and directions to employees
In midst of the busyness of this season it can be easy for employees to lose sight of where the company is going and how they can contribute to achieving company-wide goals. It is a good idea to communicate and remind employees of what is currently happening in the company and what the next weeks and months look like. This helps keep employees focused on the bigger picture when it’s easy to get lost in the day-to-day tasks.
Employees will likely appreciate the information as it is a valuable reminder for them of what they can/should be doing, and it will also provide them with purpose and direction as they continue in their jobs.
4. Less stress, more encouragement
Work can become a place where employees feel more stressed, even if the stressors aren’t coming from the workplace. External factors such as health, family, relationships, and finances can contribute to how an employee performs their job. Although this can be present at any time of the year, the back-to-school season may amplify how overwhelmed a worker feels.
This is an opportunity for employers to show workers encouragement and to recognize signs of stress, anxiety, fatigue, and other mental health conditions that employees could be suffering from. A supportive workplace is key to helping maintain the wellness of its workers, and managers/supervisors can directly impact this through the way they show empathy and concern for those around them.
5. It's all about communication
The most important thing that needs to be present in order for the previous four tips to be effective is open communication. If your employees don’t feel comfortable voicing concerns, difficulties, or challenges they face with work-life balance to you, then issues will only worsen. You can encourage an atmosphere of honesty and openness by first setting the standard through initial interactions with employees, but also by taking the initiative to ask about how your employees are doing.
Employees often follow the lead set by their managers and supervisors, so make sure you are communicating your interest and concern for their well-being. This will help them feel comfortable in sharing necessary information with you that may explain a change in their work performance.
Ultimately, it’s important to be mindful of how this time of year might impact your employees. Fostering and encouraging an atmosphere of open communication and flexibility will help make the workplace increasingly effective during back-to-school.
If you need any help or having any questions with policy writing, a difficult employee situation, or how to create a culture of open communication, you can contact Anna Aceto-Guerin at firstname.lastname@example.org, obligation-free!
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