If you manage employees with families, they’re bound to ask you to accommodate them as they handle family obligations. Here are a few general ways to respond to such requests:
- Compromise when you can’t grant a request outright. Look for ways to grant part of the request. You’ll be repaid tenfold in goodwill. Example: If an employee wants to work fewer hours so he can drop his children off at school, he may be able to work a few hours from home and still come in later.
- Suggest alternatives. Apart from working out some form of compromise, offer other suggestions. You may come up with something the employee never thought of. But even if you don’t, your willingness to discuss possibilities will show the employee you’re committed to solving the problem.
- Reject requests tactfully. If you must turn down an employee, let him know you sympathize with his predicament, but you can’t grant time off. If you’re forthright, they’re more likely to accept your decision.
- Treat everyone fairly. If you routinely grant time off to employees with children, but reluctantly grant time off to childless or single employees, you’re asking for trouble.
— Adapted from Win-Win: Leading People in the New Workplace, George Fuller, Prentice Hall Press, http://prenticehall.com.