Balancing act with hybrid schedules for schools, work needed

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Photo credit Students at Leonardo daVinci High School. September 6, 2018 (WBEN Photo/Mike Baggerman)

Buffalo, NY (WBEN) - It's a balancing act indeed.

It will no doubt become more complicated for working parents this fall, as some will see their children only attend schools two to three days a week, as they may be called in to work at the office.

Dottie Gallagher of the Buffalo Niagara Partnership says parents are still being taxed helping kids at home.

"We've been listening to businesses that are using a lot of flexibilty with their work force overall, but in the longer term will be challenging," says Gallagher, who notes work by her employees can be done at home and not necessarily between 9 and 5. But she knows other businesses just can't do that. "If you're in manufacturing, you need to be there. If you're in retail on the front line, they cannot work remotely or have the flexibility a white collar worker might have," explains Gallagher.

Gallagher says there will be issues for those workers because employers have a reasonable expectation to have their employees work when needed, but they also must be flexible, and that will be the challenge. Gallagher says there are parents nervous about children going to the physical school. "Now that we have some certainty, some businesses and families will have to figure this out," says Gallagher. What about day care? "I think that's all to be seen. I know there are concerns about capacity in day care centers right now, and the challenges that come with that. Another challenge is how much unemployment actually exists," notes Gallagher. "Employers understand they have to help their employees as best they can, while they're running their business. Their business model has been disrupted, and everyone has to work together in the safest way possible to get the economy moving."

AJ Baynes of the Amherst Chamber of Commerce says families have been under pressure over the past few months, and now hybrid scheduling will be a challenge for months to come.

"For employers, it's recognizing the stress coming from trying to arrange child care or helping in the learning process for children, and that could mean altering the work schedule," says Baynes. "You might have one spouse works 7-2 to teach the children, then the other keeps the kids occupied from 3 to bedtime, and the employer may need to work with the employee to discuss the challenges lying ahead."