Share employee gifts for parents on your staff during the stressful back-to-school season! It’s an easy and meaningful way to show you are paying attention to them and care about their happiness, well-being and hard work.
The gesture will be appreciated. In a 2015 Care.com survey, more than half of parents reported that the start of the school year interferes with their jobs.
“Additionally, 1 in 4 believe that, throughout the year, supervisors don’t empathize with school obligations that can make them late to work, require they leave early or keep them from work altogether,” SHRM’s Dana Wilkie writes in “Back to School, Back to Stress.”
Read on for tips on managing back-to-school engagement and seven ideas for employee gifts for parents that will help smooth the transition from summer to fall.
The Back-to-School Challenge for Employees
Back-to-school stress is about more than making lunches and getting kids ready for school in the morning before work. Parents and other caregivers need to worry about after-school activities, carpooling, homework, meetings with teachers and volunteer expectations. Responsibilities for special-needs kids is even more time-consuming.
“For those juggling work deadlines and these school-related situations, this can be incredibly stressful,” Global Workplace Solutions and Care.com co-founder Donna Levin tells SHRM.
The Care.com survey found that 44 percent of respondents said they “frequently or often” feel distracted at work during the school season. The same number of respondents also said they worry their boss and colleagues will think they’re not committed to their job when their work schedule is upset by a school responsibility.
According to the survey, the top five back-to-school stressors are:
- Back to school shopping
- Juggling work and school responsibilities
- Getting kids ready for school in the morning
- Finding after-school care
- Dealing with plans falling through
“The important factor is that managers and colleagues are empathetic and understanding of lives beyond the office walls,” Levin tells SHRM. “It’s in a company’s best interest to value employees’ lives outside of work, especially if they want to retain the best talent.”
7 Employee Gifts for Parents & Caregivers
Make back-to-school life a little easier for parents and caregivers — and anyone on your staff juggling personal responsibilities with work this time of year. Share a gift that sends a message of value and appreciation.
1. Bagels & Juice Breakfast in the Office
The parents on your staff are probably too busy getting kids ready in the morning to take time for much breakfast, let alone a relaxed, healthy one. Bring in bagels, fruit, juice and coffee for everyone one morning (or make it a once-a-week tradition!) so parents and non-parents alike can take a few minutes together to chat and eat breakfast before starting the workday.
2. Time Off
Now’s the time to sit down with each employee and evaluate the number of sick days or personal days left for the rest of the year. For parents juggling unexpected responsibilities, like caring for a sick child, a day off can make all the difference. If your organization structure allows it, let caregivers find a co-worker to cover their responsibilities if possible to provide a little more time-off leeway.
3. ‘Sick Kid’ Care Package
Brighten the day of an employee who’s home taking care of a sick child: send them a care package with antibacterial wipes, chicken noodle soup, an age-appropriate toy and, for the parent, a sweet treat or gift certificate for dinner or a movie rental. Showing you care means so much!
This is the big one. People want the flexibility to do their jobs well and be good parents, too. Give employees the gift of “flextime,” allowing them to work from home, come in early and leave early or work on weekends. Be sure to sit down and discuss a flexibility plan so you know what will help them and so everyone has the same expectations. Extend the same offer to non-parents on your staff, too — we all juggle personal and work responsibilities at different times, such as taking care of an ill friend, partner or parent.
5. Reward Managers for Successful Work-Life Balance
Don’t forget managers! Recognize and reward their efforts to accommodate back-to-school flexibility.
“One way to help managers become more sympathetic to working parents, especially during school season, is to reward them for making work-life balance happen for their employees,” Ken Matos, senior director of research for Families and Work Institute, tells SHRM.
Top brass often want work-life balance and flexibility to be part of the workplace culture, but when a “manager makes it work, it isn’t always noted on the manager’s performance review,” according to Matos. “No thank you or reward, just the organization asking you, ‘Did you make your numbers?'”
If you want work-life balance to be a key component of your organization’s culture, you must make it an expectation and then reward managers for their own flexibility in helping staff with their needs.
6. Practical Grocery Gifts
Make back-to-school shopping a little easier and share a gift that can be enjoyed with the whole family. Gift certificates for groceries or grocery store items such as pizza, fruit and veggies, pie and ice cream are low-cost yet meaningful gifts for thanking caregivers on your staff. They’re a great way to recognize the extra effort your employees put in to do excellent work while at the same time juggling back-to-school stress.
7. Workplace Celebration (with Childcare Provided!)
End of September, celebrate back-to-school with a low-key workplace party. Make it family-friendly by providing on-site childcare. Focus on wellness, a chance to connect with co-workers and relaxation: provide a healthy meal and plan stress-busting activities like a dance class, outdoor team-building games and 3-minute chair massages.
And don’t forget the most important part of any workplace celebration: your gratitude to employees. A sincere “Thank You” from the CEO or a senior manager is one of the best employee gifts there is!
For more ideas on engaging and celebrating employees, download our FREE Ultimate Guide to Employee Gift-Giving. Click below and get started today!
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