Due to the coronavirus pandemic, being a working parent has been more challenging than ever. Now that we are in the Fall when school activities reach their peak, managing work-life integration is especially difficult. As an employer, you need to do what you can to help your team members thrive.
Four Ways to Provide Additional Support for the Parents on your Team
1. Talk About Staff Members’ Needs
Find out what would make circumstances easier for the parents on your team. In many cases, one of the biggest challenges is access to quality childcare. For others, it may be access to mental health services and counseling. Find solutions that help resolve your employees’ biggest problems to stay as productive as possible.
2. Prioritize Down Time
Remind your team that they need to enforce boundaries for beginning and ending the workday. In many cases, parents have been logging an average of 11 hours of work a day. This may be due to feeling increased pressure to perform while working from home. However, continuing at this pace will adversely impact mental health and wellness and lead to burnout. Combat this issue by limiting the number of hours worked each day, the times to send or receive email, and the amount of work each team member has at a given time.
3. Create a Working Parents Forum
Encourage coworkers who are parents to give and receive support as a group. Talking with other parents who are experiencing similar situations with their kids provides feelings of support. Additionally, the parents may provide tips for homeschooling or balancing a new family schedule. They also could share recipes, book recommendations, or homework help. This helps reduce stress, anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues.
4. Strengthen Employee Policies
Aim to implement initiatives that provide additional support for working parents. This may include enhanced maternity and paternity leave, parent-buddy groups, subscriptions to services such as meditation apps, unstructured time with leaders, or resilience workshops. Make sure leadership uses these policies when applicable to encourage staff to follow their lead.
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