Supporting Military Families


In the workplace, military spouses and parents of service members often face unique challenges. Frequent relocations, extended periods of single parenting, and the emotional weight of having a loved one in service can impact their professional lives. As a supervisor, you can play a crucial role in providing the support they need to thrive. Here are five practical tips to help you support military spouses and parents of service members in your team.

5 Practical Tips for Supervisors

1. Offer Flexibility in Scheduling
Military families often navigate unpredictable schedules and sudden changes. In almost all cases, these changes are mandatory – as the military does not negotiate schedules, assignments, or locations in the same way a private employer might. Whether it’s dealing with deployments, homecomings, or changes in assignment location or working hours, flexibility in the workplace can greatly alleviate their stress.

  • Adjust Work Hours: Provide options for flexible or adjustable work hours to accommodate their family needs.
  • Remote Work Options: Allow remote work or telecommuting when feasible, especially during times of transition or when they need to relocate.
  • Temporary Leave: Be understanding and supportive when they need to take time off for family-related events or emergencies.

2. Create a Supportive and Understanding Environment
Understanding the unique pressures faced by military families is key to fostering a supportive workplace. Cultivate an environment where they feel understood and valued.

  • Educate Yourself and Your Team: Learn about the challenges military families face and educate your team to build empathy and support.
  • Encourage Open Communication: Create a safe space for military spouses and parents to share their concerns and needs without fear of stigma.
  • Show Empathy: Be empathetic towards their situations, whether it’s dealing with a loved one’s deployment, handling the pressure of a military lifestyle, or preparing for a transition.

3. Promote and Practice Work/Life Balance
Balancing work and family life can be particularly challenging for military families. As a supervisor, advocating for and facilitating a healthy work/life balance is crucial.

  • Verbalize Support: Regularly communicate your support for a balanced work/life environment and encourage employees to prioritize their well-being.
  • Respect Off-Duty Time: Avoid sending work-related emails or messages during their off-hours. Instead, schedule communications to align with their working hours.
  • Thoughtful Scheduling: Be mindful of mandatory training times or after-hours gatherings. Try to schedule these events during regular working hours whenever possible to preserve their personal time for family duties and activities that help them recharge.

4. Provide Career Development and Growth Opportunities
Military spouses often face disruptions in their career paths due to relocations and other family commitments. Providing opportunities for professional growth can help them advance despite these challenges.

  • Invest in Training: Offer training and skill development programs that can be accessed remotely or on a flexible schedule.
  • Career Path Planning: Work with them to develop a career path that accommodates their unique circumstances and goals.
  • Recognition and Reward: Recognize their achievements and contributions, reinforcing their value to your organization.

5. Encourage Community and Peer Support
Creating a sense of community and peer support within the workplace can provide invaluable emotional and practical assistance to military families.

  • Foster Connections: Encourage connections among employees to build a supportive network.
  • Support Groups: Facilitate the formation of support groups for military families within the workplace.
  • Promote Mentorship: Encourage mentorship opportunities where experienced employees can offer guidance and support to military spouses and parents.

By implementing these practical tips, you can help create a work environment that is understanding, flexible, and supportive of the unique needs of military spouses and parents of service members. These efforts not only help them succeed professionally but also contribute to a more inclusive and resilient workplace.

Supporting military families is not just about accommodating their needs; it’s about recognizing and valuing their contributions and resilience. With your support, they can thrive both personally and professionally.

Be Connected Career Navigation

This blog is part of a series curated by the Be Connected Career Navigation team, designed to offer guidance and support through a career-focused lens. Our goal is to empower not just individuals, but also helpers, organizations, communities, and systems, ensuring a holistic approach to career development.

The Be Connected Career Navigation team is dedicated to assisting transitioning service members, veterans, military and veteran spouses, and military installations. We provide tailored support and resources to help navigate the complexities of career transitions. Learn more at or call 866-4AZ-VETS and ask about no-cost Career Navigation services.

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Special thanks to the Governor’s Office of Youth, Faith and Family for their partnership and support.

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