It’s back-to-school time! Are you engaging employees with flexible workplace benefits — benefits that ease the transition from summer vacation to the demands and routines of the start of school?
Flexible workplace benefits consider employee experience in practical ways that help employees manage work-life balance.
“Employee experience” is a relatively new concept in HR. As author and futurist Jacob Morgan writes for Inc., it works best in tandem with employee engagement.
“By combining employee engagement and experience to work together, organizations can build an environment where employees feel valued,” Morgan writes.
Employee experience is about “designing an organization where people want to show up by focusing on the cultural, technological and physical environments,” according to Morgan. It goes deeper than engagement and considers “experience” as defined by employees.
Taking that experience into account leads to better, more effective engagement strategies.
As we move into the school year, consider your employees’ experience of balancing work and school to design truly effective, engaging workplace benefits.
Flexible Workplace Benefits Are Good For Everyone — Bottom Line, Too!
Allowing flexibility is one of the smartest investments workplace leaders can make.
“Savvy leaders understand that talent is the single most important factor in a company’s success,” HR expert Meghan M. Biro writes for Forbes. “And to attract and retain that talent, you have to work with them to customize their jobs. This makes people feel valued, which leads to peak performance.”
The key? Being “flexible and collaborative with hours and location.”
The numerous positive results of flexible workplace benefits extend to the individual employee, to the team and to the business.
Flexibility, according to Biro:
- Attracts great employees and saves money.
“People with a lot to offer want to work at companies that treat them like adults and have empathetic, energetic, progressive cultures. On a more prosaic level, telecommuting can save costs on supplies, real estate and utilities.”
- Builds trust and respect.
“When you work with people to customize their work-life fit, you aren’t imposing anything on them. You’re treating them with respect and trust. Which will be returned. … Instead of working for you, they are working with you.”
- Deepens your talent pool.
Overly strict schedule or location requirements may cause you to miss out on potential employees who otherwise have a lot to offer.
- Improves morale, retention and productivity.
“It comes down to control. We all need to feel in control of our lives, and by working with talent on flexibility, you grant them real control.”
- Establishes meaningful work-life integration.
“Truly engaged employees don’t leave the job behind when they’re off the clock. … Employees who are telecommuting, or working on schedules that they helped design, are out in the world more, open to input, away from an office environment where stagnation can set in.”
Moreover, workers in their 20s and 30s have come to expect a certain degree of flexibility in their work.
Millennial career decisions are “heavily influenced by things like current compensation and cash flow, work-life balance, a sense of doing good and helping others, and flexibility in work schedules,” according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune.
Balancing schedules and workloads “can be complicated,” Biro admits. “But the results are worth it. It’s all about treating people like grownups. Workplace flexibility is an awesome leadership tool. Use it.”
What if your team isn’t working in a traditional office environment? Offering flexibility related to hours and location may be more challenging, or near impossible.
But you have other options — it’s possible to offer employees back-to-school flexibility, no matter your industry!
Read on for a variety of ideas of flexible workplace benefits that can work in any workplace during the school year.
Back-to-School Flexible Workplace Benefits
Flexible workplace benefits during the school year create a family-friendly work environment. But they’re not just for families with young children. Employees continuing their professional education will appreciate the support and flexibility.
Ultimately you’re building a workplace culture in which education is respected and prioritized — and that raises the bar for everyone.
There are some obvious ways to support employees juggling back-to-school demands, such as allowing employees to work from home or have input in setting their own schedules.
Here are more ideas:
1. A Family-Style Dinner Event, or Series of Events
Cooking and eating together as a family is a challenge with competing schedules. Take a load off by providing a family-style dinner for employees and their families, either as a one-off event or a regular series of event during the semester. Plus, it builds camaraderie. Employees will enjoy the time to socialize together with family and coworkers.
2. “Sick Kid” Care Packages
Have an employee who’s stuck at home caring for 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. It will brighten their day!
3. Manager Rewards for Smooth Back-to-School Scheduling
It takes skill, empathy and quick problem-solving to juggle schedules for a team of employees handling varied back-to-school obligations. Scheduling isn’t glamorous work but it’s essential to a smooth operation. Reward the managers who do it well. Your managers deserve kudos for nurturing engagement and providing work-life balance solutions to reports.
4. Grocery Gift Certificates to Say “Thanks!”
Share your support with employees who are juggling back-to-school responsibilities with work – with the practical gift of groceries. Sharing gThankYou! Grocery Gift Certificates is an easy and appreciated way to say “Thanks!” and fit any schedule — you hand them out at your convenience and recipients redeem them at their convenience, at the grocery store of their choice! Best of all, they get to share and enjoy the gift with family and friends.
5. Stress-Busting Celebration
Give employees a little R&R! Celebrate back-to-school with a low-key workplace party. Focus on wellness, a chance to connect with co-workers and relaxation: healthy snacks, a dance class, outdoor team-building games and 3-minute chair massages. Make it even more relaxing for employees by providing on-site childcare.
More Employee Engagement Ideas from Industry Experts
Building a culture of everyday engagement takes commitment, focus and a willingness to try things and keep learning. For inspiration, we recommend these great blogs from workplace leaders who love building great workplace culture. Download our free eBook and start today – “The Top 20 Employee Engagement Blogs You Should Be Reading.”
About gThankYou, LLC
Turkey Gift Certificates, Ham Gift Certificates, and Turkey Or Ham Gift Certificates by gThankYou are America’s favorite employee gifts and can be redeemed for any brand (Turkey, Ham, or Turkey Or Ham), at virtually any grocery store in the U.S.
gThankYou, LLC provides company leaders with a variety of easy, meaningful and affordable ways to recognize and reward employees, holiday time or anytime. gThankYou! Certificates of Gratitude and our free Enclosure Cards are personalizable including incorporating your company logo. And, nearly all orders ship same day.
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