As parents return to the office, they are getting more assertive about asking for flexibility around their children’s schedules. So says the Wall Street Journal in a recent article on this emerging trend. The article also states that companies are responding favourably to those requests, making flexibility during school holidays more attainable than ever.
While the article focuses on the US, it serves up many points of interest for HR professionals worldwide, as seen below.
Workers of child-rearing age often have years of experience and know-how, plus valuable business networks. Continuing to support them as the pandemic wanes is a powerful retention tool. It makes sense on a human and a business level.
In a 2022 survey by consulting firm, McKinsey & Co., 46% of people who were planning to leave their job said they would reconsider if their company offered extended breaks for caregiving or other personal or family responsibilities.
Some companies are introducing additional holiday days tied to common school holidays that aren’t usually days off at work. Others have introduced temporary work-from-anywhere policies. This enables parents to work for a few weeks while visiting grandparents, who take responsibility for childcare. Everyone wins!
Letting the boss decide
It’s one thing for HR professionals to declare new flexibility policies, but it’s managers at the coalface who understand the specific and evolving needs of their teams. Managers need to be empowered to tailor flexibility offerings to individual members of their team at different times of the year. They can also prioritise independent work that doesn’t require a high level of collaboration for school holidays.
Back up child care
The rise of hybrid working means that many companies now have extra office space. This could be repurposed for temporary childcare during the school holidays.
It’s encouraging to see how flexibility remains high on the HR agenda. Certainly, it’s of particular importance to employees with children. That said, we need to be mindful of the flexibility needs of all employees to avoid a feeling of unfairness growing among workers who don’t have children.
We hope you found the above article interesting and informative. If you’d like to add your thoughts to the conversation, or would appreciate some support with recruitment, please get in touch. ABL, the UK’s leading multilingual recruitment partner is, as always, here to help!