Last year, many parents suddenly became teachers, presenting a new challenge for working adults amid navigating a public health crisis and job uncertainty. And while summer might have allowed some flexibility, school is back in session, either in person or remote. Kids need tech and education support, and working parents are doing everything they can to stay engaged and productive on your team.
But with 73 percent of parents saying they plan to make major changes to their professional lives to accommodate family life, employers should prioritize strategies to avoid burnout and high turnover. Here are four ways to make sure those “major changes” are positive – for you and your team.
Leverage your HR team, employee resource groups or your D&I committee to create a safe space for parents to access resources and support. This could be a dedicated internal site or portal, a messaging platform for parents to come together, or weekly emails with tips and encouragement. The goal here is to learn more about the challenges your teams are facing, and make it clear you recognize and support your employees who are experiencing extra demands on their time.
Understand the back-to-school environment in your location(s)
Do you know what parents might be juggling, with daycare rules or distance learning? Situations (like mask mandates) might be changing daily or weekly, and your employees are trying to keep up with all of it, in addition to the awesome work they’re doing for your company. For example, if there’s a big meeting about the future of distance learning coming up in your local school district, send a note allowing parents to “leave” a few minutes early or take a longer lunch. Awareness is crucial.
Share across the company
Flexibility and compassion are critical skills, and it’s been important for employers to communicate that to their teams. Right now, use every tool you can to continue fostering relationships that are respectful and understanding across teams. Whether you use an internal social media site to feature employees and share how awesome they are, or you have a weekly email newsletter with tips and insights, infuse your culture with an attitude of trust. Let employees know that it's okay if their kindergartener interrupts a call with their latest macaroni art or if their teenage high school student accidentally brings down your internet.
Consider additional benefits that help everyone – and especially parents
Add an additional day off around national holidays. If you can, offer a tech stiped so remote workers can jazz up or personalize their office. Did your office have access to a gym or other wellness benefits? Consider ways you can help employees access these things virtually, from tools like Talkspace or online yoga classes. Think about how you can ease your employees’ day-to-day lives, and in the process, you’ll help your working parent team members feel valued, supported and maybe a tiny bit less stressed.