Supporting Work From Home Parents 

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Supporting Work From Home Parents 

Industries shifted to work from home to address the public health emergency and so as the schools. Classes are starting and like work, it is fully virtual. Unfortunately, parents are struggling to work from home during COVID19 because daycares and after school centers are closed so working parents have no choice but to take care of the kids the whole day while they work. Working from home full-time with kids to take care, add the household chores, and homeschooling, every parent will eventually get burn-out before the working weekends. Survey says that 1 out of 5 working parents say that their partner considers resigning from work now to keep the balance in the household and take care of the kids.  

In the workplace, around 40% of the workforce are working parents aged 20-50 years old. Imagine if half of this percentage decide to leave work this pandemic, it would significantly affect the company. To address this problem and to help employees cope up with the demands of work and household, employers are now giving different working options to support parent employees. This will not also help the company to have motivated and productive employees but most of all supporting working parents create a more family-friendly company culture.  

We have listed here at least 5 ways to support your working from home parent employees. You can implement these things next time in your company and check out what works best for them and the company.  

 

Make an online community in the company for parent employees. In this struggling moments, the best person who can relate with a working parent is her co-working parent. Now that both parents and kids are staying at home almost the whole day, parenting can be an isolating experience. You cannot breathe out from the challenges of parenting because going out is still not recommended. This is the time to make use of the virtual community. In your company, start making a virtual community of working parents. Every week, give a topic to talk about parenting. Ask your employees to talk and share with the group or talk among themselves in private. Creating a support group will help your parent employees cope as they share and learn from each other. They will be reminded that they are not alone in this struggle and fight. Encourage healthy talks in the virtual support group like counseling, advice, and best practice to manage working while taking care of kids at this time.  

Commit to caring for the mental health of parent employees. Working parents especially those who have newborn and toddlers experience a different level of stress compared to parents who have full-grown and independent children because children of this age demand attention most of the time. This transition in a parent’s life affects their mental health which can be reflected in their performance at work. They are often irritated, disoriented, and unmotivated in doing tasks due to the stress and anxiety of taking care and raising their little ones. In research, 27% of the working parents in a company admitted they have alarming mental health when the COVID-19 pandemic started. They cannot focus well on work because their attention is divided into too many things at home. As an employer, you can take care of your employees who are experiencing this by supporting their mental health like implementing these initiatives: 

  • Conduct a one on one counseling twice a month
  • Survey to identify the kind of support they need
  • Always ask them how they are doing and remind them that the company is willing to assist them

How to deal with stress and anxiety, check this out: 

Give child care assistance and conduct child-friendly virtual events. Support is more felt when it is integrated into the actual working schedule. Since we are advised to stay at home and other company events such as family day cannot be celebrated, you can host virtual child-friendly activities for the parents’ employees and their kids. Some companies like Lenovo and ShipStation piloted this by hosting virtual pet parade and magic shows.  

On the other hand, child care is one of the most expensive payables of working parents around 70% are mothers and 90% of fathers spend at least 20% of their salary on childcare during their working hours. However now that child care centers are closed, exclusive childcare at home costs double reaching almost 40% of their monthly salary. Hence, the childcare assistance program for working parents is a good initiative to ease the financial burden. Also, this will help your employees meet the demands in terms of quality and quantity of output at work because they know that you’ve got their backs in terms of childcare. 

You do not need to shoulder the whole amount, giving them discounted rates or shouldering a part of the rate may suffice. You can also offer them online tutoring. By doing this your company may be eligible for a tax credit for giving these benefits to eligible working parents. Expanding benefits of work from home for parents, especially fornew parents could be in the form of virtual post-partum programs and offer expanded maternity and paternity leaves.     

Implement a strict day-off for working parents. Working from home also means a flexible schedule. Wherein, team leaders and co-workers can just call anytime and give tasks. Stand up and implement strict time-off or day-off for working parents. Meaning at a particular time of the day, they log-off from the system and ensure quality family time after work and during day-offs. This improves their motivation and productivity. They will have peace of mind in turning off their devices and will not be guilty of their obligations in the company due to taking care of their children.  

You can also consider giving them out their paid leaves used into small chunks. Like in a day, allow parent employees to use an hour or two to help their child in homeschooling. By doing this, employees will be more appreciative of the company policy and there will be no reason for them not to do their work well because even in breaks, they are paid.  

 

How to maintain the work-life balance with kids: 

 

Adjust and manage output expectations. Since the start of the full working from home scheme, parents devote an extra 20 hours on child care, homeschooling, and house chores. Having all these things in one place significantly affects their productivity and performance at work. These worries parent employees of not hitting their quotas where their reviews, bonuses, and promotions are anchored. The survey showed that 40% of parent employees had decreased their productivity at work since this pandemic started. Unfortunately, working from home is not for everyone and most not for the parent employees. As an employer, try to adjust the evaluation of productivity since most parent employees are still finding their way to maintain the work, life, and family balance. Consider relaxing some indicators as your employees are facing this new challenge.  

 

 

Written by Ariane Negishi

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