It can be really difficult to find good childcare options when you work full-time. However, many local companies are featuring flexible options that are helping employees.
Publix, based in Lakeland, has been rated as having one of the best in-house childcare options in the country. It's located inside the main corporate office and dozens of employees bring their children. Employees pay a rate that Publix calls "competitive" to other local childcare options. The center is open 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Brandon Cruz came to the Publix Child Development Center as an infant. Now he and his sister both bring their own babies.
"If something goes wrong, or if I'm having a bad day, I can just always come and see her," Cruz said.
Publix Child Development Center Director Kay Moran Allen said for employees having kids so close to work is a great flexible option.
"They can come here also and eat with their child, moms can come to nurse their babies," Allen said. "It is very convenient for our Publix associates."
Other local companies with in-house childcare options include USF, Tampa General Hospital, St. Joseph's Hospital, Moffitt Cancer Center, USAA, CitiGroup, and ASI.
If your local company doesn't offer in-house childcare options, Lisa Jacobson, a career consultant based in Tampa, said you can ask for flexible hours and other childcare options if you have been a solid, reliable employee.
"You have to be in good standing with the company," Jacobson said.
Jacobson said employees should be prepared for a "no" answer, because creating special work arrangements for some employees can open the door for more employees to want the same treatment.
However, she said, great workers shouldn't be afraid to ask for telecommuting options a few days a week, leaving early one day a week, splitting a shift to get the kids home from school and working a few hours at night to make up for it, job sharing with another employee, or even adjusting your hours to better fit your childcare needs.
Jacobson said the best option is to approach employers with a 90-day pilot program idea and then work hard to prove this doesn't just benefit the employee, but the company.
"You say, look, I realize not many people are asking for this, but I think that if I need it, maybe other people will need it, too," she said. "So I'm asking you to try it out."
Jacobson said more and more families are seeing both parents working full time and companies need to be ready to provide flexible options in order to retain their employees.
Kelly Services, which has offices across the country, also offers temporary employment and direct-hire in areas ranging from traditional office positions (such as accounting and administrative) as well as in finance, healthcare, education, engineering, law, information technology, science, manufacturing and light industrial.
Jobs that typically offer the most day-to-day schedule flexibility are likely call center, warehouse/distribution and substitute teaching, although employees can choose when they want to work and how often they want to work, in many service categories.
For example, they can work one week out of the month or they can choose to accept a long-term assignment that lasts several months, said Kelly Services Spokesperson Denise Ridenour.