Career Corner: Managing your job and back to school
Without debate, this can be a very stressful time for parents who have children going back to school. Books and other school supplies must be bought, and uniforms that fit perfectly before September cannot be worn for this new term. Added to that, there is a significant amount of road work taking place in our nation’s capital which makes the commute to school and work much more tedious than we would like. The result leaves many parents fighting to get to work on time and feeling stressed out. It’s a lot to manage…but it’s doable.
Here are a few suggestions for working parents on how to manage children in school while still meeting the demands of your job:
Flexi Time: If your organization isn’t yet doing flexi time now is a good time to suggest it (even if only temporarily because of the current road work situation) …Instead of working from 8: 30 am – 4: 30 pm, start and end work an hour earlier or later…flexi time can help to minimize the amount of time being stuck in traffic, and helps in getting the children to school on time, and in getting you to work feeling less tired and stressed out.
After Care: Make arrangements for your children to be picked up by someone else after school so that you don’t have to leave the office during the work day to carry them home. Several schools also have extracurricular activities that your children can take part in, so that they can be picked up at the end of your work day. Utilize these opportunities to minimize time spent away from the office so that you can meet your daily goals.
Carpool: It still makes sense to carpool. If you have friends or colleagues whose children attend the same school as your children- share the ride. It saves time and allows you to send the children to school safely, so you can then focus on things at work.
Weekly schedules: Make a schedule for the family for the entire week. Outline things like the time to leave home, pick up times after school, meetings that you have scheduled. Post the schedule where everyone can see it. This is useful in helping to manage your time.
Meal Prep: Meal prep isn’t just for those concerned with health and fitness. It works for you and your children too. Pack lunches for the entire family from the night before, so there is one less activity to focus on in the morning.
Communicate with your boss: If you outline your weekly schedule and know that there are things that must be attended to during the week for your children- advise your boss in advance. Make arrangements to leave work early (or not come in to work at all). Prepare an outline of how you will complete your projects so that your boss knows that work won’t be left undone, and you are not bombarded with several things to do when you return to office.
Managing children and the demands of the job can sometimes seem like a daunting task- but support and organization should ideally help in making the experience more manageable. All the best to you and the children for a productive school term!
Malaika T. Edwards is a Human Resources consultant and provides advisory services to individuals and business clients. She is also a PhD candidate at the Louisiana State University (LSU) where she specializes in Human Resources and Workforce Development. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on LinkedIn at linkedin.com/in/malaika-edwards