Mom, mom, mom, momma… Can Johnny come over? Can I go to the park? Can I have a sleep over? Whatcha doin? Are you almost done? Can I have some goldfish? School got out at 9:30 for the summer. It’s 11:00 and that’s the scaled down list of questions. How will I survive summer? I barely made it through Spring Break!I can’t tell my clients that I’ll see them in September, I’m not a teacher. I feel like one for grown-ups sometimes. I fix or put in detention the employees that wouldn’t listen in school. The Queen’s definition of HR, don’t call Webster. But back to the dilemma of summer! I sat down with the calendar and searched out every exciting, nerdy and active thing available in the Kingdom from 8-4 and signed him up. I just have to make it through the week and the nagging everyday of how he wants to hang out.
It made me think, how do people survive Summer and Breaks? As an employee, it can be a struggle to make it all work. If you are trying to get to work, the hours are hard (have you seen a camp schedule?). If you are trying to work from home, you get Stewie from Family Guy visiting your home office every five minutes. How can you concentrate? As the Employer, you have to run a business and you can’t tell your customers to wait until your employees get the kids to camp.
Plan, Plan & Plan
If you haven’t made a plan, get out a calendar. Map out your work projects in one color. Then map your kids in another on the same calendar. Where is your hole? You know there is one. If it can’t be covered in vacation or personal time, you need to meet with your manager. You don’t want to call in sick on your holes, winter is coming (with it colds, flu and Thanksgiving and Christmas break) you will need them! Don’t expect your boss to give you an open invitation. Have a plan to make up your time. It’s important to be specific, describe what you can get done and how you can make it happen. Maybe it’s staying late a couple hours each week, in anticipation of the time needed or logging in at night or weekends.
If you commit to working from home, make sure to have a plan for that. Explain your work environment and why you will be successful (make sure it’s true). Working from home is difficult (see question list at top of article, never mind your laundry). If you promise to get something done at night, make sure to do it. If you don’t, you will never get this opportunity again and you will ruin it for everyone in your office. Don’t be the example they use to shoot other people down when they ask for flex time.
If you are the boss, don’t put your head in the sand. Otherwise, people will get the summer flu for coverage. Ask everyone what their kids are doing over the summer. Put up a calendar and ask employees to pre-plan vacations or long weekends. Your policy may ask for two weeks, but if you can visualize days requested all together you will have a better idea of what you can work with. You may have 5 employees and 3 want to go away for 4th of July. It’s a Wednesday this year. I guarantee you have at least one that wants to stretch that holiday! You may not be flexible. Have the discussion with your expectations early in the summer. It will be easier to discuss now rather than at the end of summer when camp ends and school doesn’t start for a week and everyone has used their available time off. Last tip, what you do for one, you have to do for all (within the same position)! Be understanding but careful.
Happy Summer Everyone! Enjoy your juggling! Two more days to camp, Two more days to camp…
Tell us what you do over the summer to balance work and home by commenting below.