The COVID-19 pandemic is far from being over. As 2020 drew to a close, many countries went back to national lockdowns to slow a new wave of new infections. Even if not just one but multiple vaccines have been developed to respond to the current public health crisis, life is not about to go back to normal.
This means that working moms and dads have to continue working at home. As schools remain close, juggling childcare with professional responsibilities will be a tough challenge for all parents out there.
To ensure that employees can perform their roles at work, employers should provide assistance to working parents. However, a survey found that only 32% of companies that are returning to work despite the pandemic have plans to aid child-care to employees who have families.
How can employers help? Here are a few tips.
Provide A More Flexible Work Arrangement
The schools are closed, but that does not mean children are not receiving their education. Since the beginning of the pandemic, classes have turned virtual. Students are still going to middle school online every day of the week.
This creates a problem within families. Not everyone can afford to acquire multiple devices, so what will happen when the children need only one or two laptops or tablets at home for school while the parents need them for work?
Unless the company can provide a work device for every employee, then granting everyone the freedom to choose when to clock in would be the next best solution. As long as they can effectively fulfill their work, working parents should be able to choose to go online in the afternoon or the evening. A flexible work arrangement will also help those who are caring for kids who may be too young to go to school.
Richard Barton, the co-founder and CEO of Zillow, said that the real estate marketplace company is working around the schedule of working parents. Instead of forcing them to comply, the company is being lenient when it comes to work times and even lost productivity.
Rethink Your Expectations Of Meetings
Meetings, when everyone is working at home, will be a lot less professional. Sure, everyone might be wearing a shirt and a suit, but they are still in a bedroom or their living room. Employers should change their expectations of what a meeting should look like. Likely, you will be interrupted by the sound of a yelling child while you are doing your presentation. Some children, or pets, of your employees will be making an appearance and listening during the meeting. There will be toys and other clutter in the background.
The monthly team meetings should also be moved to early morning or late evening when the children are asleep and parents are free to do their work in peace.
Offer New Perks
Being a working parent is especially challenging during the pandemic. Alleviate some of the burden by proving new benefits to all employees. Employees, for example, can receive a monthly stipend they can use for occasional meal deliveries. Cooking all day is not usually a task that parents have to worry about when the kids are at school, so allowing them to order food every once in a while is one less task to do for the day. Other tasks online grocery orders and laundry services could also be offered to all employees during, and maybe even after, the pandemic.
Expand Parental Leaves And Days Off
One of the kindest things you can do for your employees is time off. Everyone is living through a highly-stressful and traumatic experience. Working, on top of attending to their duties to their family and worrying about the global situation, can take a toll on one’s physical and mental health.
Encourage your team to use their paid vacation leaves. In fact, expand their vacation leaves. Even if no one can travel right now, they all deserve to rest every once in a while.
Taking a few days off can allow working parents to recharge. Studies have shown that employees who take regular breaks have improved their productivity and focus when they went back to work. Meanwhile, forcing them to work non-stop will only lead to burnout which impacts the quality of their output.
If you do not know how to help your employees, all you have to do is ask. They will know exactly what they need and how you can provide support for them so that they can concentrate on their jobs.