Your team members ' kids are back in school, which means your staffers may be juggling carpool duty, extracurricular activities,
and teacher conferences on top of the usual doctors' appointments and play dates. Enable your team members to take care of
their children—without sacrificing their job duties—by using these scheduling tricks.
1. Hire help. College students and teenagers are often happy to take late evening, weekend, and holiday shifts for some extra pocket money.
They can free up your team by washing towels, sweeping and mopping, walking dogs, and so on.
2. Give 'em a rest. Schedule one weekday off for each employee to take care of doctor visits and other appointments—for themselves and their
kids. In my previous clinic, my employees weren't allowed to work five full days in one week. And they understood why very
quickly. They didn't burn out and they didn't stress about missing work in order to get things done at home. The team members
took turns coming in early and staying late to make up the extra hours. Usually each employee received 36 to 38 hours per
week. They also took turns working Saturdays.
3. Plan ahead. Schedule a backup team member to be available in case someone else can't make it in because of an emergency, such as a child
who woke up with a fever. This is another reason I scheduled my team members for four days a week. We always had someone to
call in a pinch.
4. Be flexible. All my employees worked out their own schedule changes and shift swaps. They ran the changes by me, and I didn't have to
worry about it.
5. Ask about the kids. Knowing that a mom has four baseball games to attend this week gives you a feel for her schedule—and her potential stress
level. You can't always do anything about it, but it helps to be aware. And one team member can occasionally take another's
extra day off.
Working parents can make the most caring employees, but their families are more important to them than their jobs. You need
to make work as beneficial to them as possible. In return, you'll earn their loyalty.
Dr. Sonya Brouillette recently sold her practice in Kentwood, La., and now owns the consulting company Animal Health Services
in Baton Rouge, La.