Helping employees plan for care needs and accommodating work schedules that create stability and predictability for working parents.
Research shows that flexibility in all forms is one of the most beneficial policies to help employees balance family and work. Having some control over when or where to work allows employees to juggle the workload and child care needs, according to the National Council on Family Relations.
Flexibility offers a number of benefits for employers as well, including:
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation outlines several strategies to support working parents, including flexible scheduling. In their Employer Roadmap: Childcare Solutions for Working Parents guide, they identify this strategy as one that is low-cost, has both an immediate and long-term impact, and can be executed in multiple ways.
It’s important for employers to understand how child care contributes to last minute scheduling changes and depending on specific needs, recognize that finding care outside of traditional business hours can be extremely difficult.
Flexible work schedules and flex work arrangements come in many forms. Check out the Society for Human Resources Management’s toolkit for Managing Flexible Workplace Arrangements to learn about the different types of flexibility policies and best practices for each.
Industries such as manufacturing and hospitality rely on employees who can work in person during a set shift. For this type of work, predictive scheduling ensures that employees have some control over their scheduled working hours, which allows them to find stable care for their children.
Research shows that work schedules can greatly impact parents’ ability to find and maintain high-quality child care. Employees with nonstandard work hours, such as night shifts, often have trouble finding care, as most formal child care centers are closed when they work.
Likewise, employees with unstable schedules or those who face schedule changes due to on-call work or last-minute shift changes often rely on numerous care arrangements, informal care arrangements, such as babysitters and siblings, or are forced to leave children without care.
Predictive scheduling includes the following best practices, according to the National Women’s Law Center:
Create a standard policy for employees to request time off, to help you manage your worker availability. A policy should address the following questions: