THE summer holidays are fast approaching and we’re all looking forward to some much-needed fun in the sun with our families.
But for many employees, juggling the demands of work together with the needs of their children over the next seven weeks can prove to be particularly challenging.
It’s a difficult time for employers too, who are often forced to balance the needs of their business with the wellbeing of their people.
So what can be done to ensure the summer holidays are happy and productive one for everyone?
Ena HR & Training has the answers.
Making the workplace work for everyone
It’s an equation which would make even the most talented A-Level student scratch their head in despair.
How do you make 5.6 weeks of annual leave for the average full-time employee stretch to cover a total of 14 weeks of school holidays every year?
The answer is actually very simple – you don’t - and every working parent will be very familiar with the overwhelming feeling of panic which usually accompanies this time of year.
First there are frantic phone calls to parents and friends to see if they can help out, followed by endless emails as you sign up to various holiday clubs. Then there are conversations over the dinner table to work out whether either of you have any annual leave left to get you through to the first week of September!
For many working parents the struggle is very real, particularly in the middle of a cost-of-living crisis, and it’s highly likely many of them will ask their employers for some kind of support as the end of term approaches.
Advice for getting through the summer holidays
For managers, the summer holidays can a minefield as it is really important to be fair and transparent with everyone.
Firstly, every business needs to have a clear annual leave policy in place, which sets out how many days can be taken at any one time, how an employee applies for leave and who has the authority to approve – or decline - requests. If it’s a process of ‘first come, first served’ make sure everybody knows it so nobody is disappointed later on.
As a business could you offer flexible, or remote working, to ensure parents are on hand for their children? While this will very much depend on your area of work it can work very well for some teams and really help with team morale as well.
If that’s not an option, support through childcare vouchers, or through buying and selling annual leave will always be very welcome and a great way to foster that team spirit.
In some businesses it can worth looking at workload and see if any projects can be delayed until September. Have a chat with clients and customers too, to make them aware of any periods of annual leave or possible delays.
Beyond that, remember to have fun! While the summer holidays are undoubtedly a juggle for everyone why not take the time to enjoy the sun?
Have a dress down day, bring in a drinks fridge or organise a barbecue and take some time as a team.