How To Support Parents Working From Home During COVID-19
For the past year, we have shifted from offices to working from home. While a small number of companies had adopted remote work before 2020, most of them had to adopt out of necessity. A lot of parents feel overwhelmed by handling work, parenting and remote learning all under one roof. While the office culture had dictations on when work started and ceased, work from home doesn’t.
Here are ways companies can make working from home easy.
1.Parenting Will Interrupt, Be Kind
Raise your hand if your child or your colleague’s child has made an appearance in a conference call or Zoom meeting. Anticipate for interruptions from kids needing a snack, use the washroom or be part of mum’s conversation.
Let the child be part of the conversation, say hi to them before excusing the parent from the meeting. This sets a healthy work precedent and guides other colleagues on what to do in future should they find themselves in a similar situation.
2. Keep Routines Flexible
Schedules might not work. Interruptions from kids, remote learning and cooking meals will abound. By using a results-oriented approach, companies can help employees feel in control of their time, and adjust accordingly when faced with interruptions.
Give employees the option to block out 3 hours here and there where they can work in a flow state. Trusting them to structure their own hours will increase motivation and will go a long way in promoting a healthy workplace culture.
3. Encourage Employees to Take Time Off
Living and working in a pandemic is a first for many of us unless you’re over 80 years old in which case you shouldn’t be working. Companies can encourage employees to take time off their day and use their designated leave days. Skyscanner, a Scottish company has introduced a 3-hour break from 12 PM to 3 PM to allow employees to spend time with their children without interaction.
Another way to promote rest is having managers use their designated leave days, which in turn encourages employees to do the same.
4. Check-in with your Employees Regularly
Shifting from office to remote work can be hard for employees having to juggle work and parenting. Communicate with your employees about their work, personal life and how their workload has changed before and after the pandemic.
One of the things our CEO does is asking, ‘how can I help you succeed this week?’ This opens up space for employees to voice their concerns and areas they’d need support.
5. Promote Good Hygiene Practices
In a time when most people are working from home, essential workers, employees in the informal sector and companies handling logistics are still working from the office. Employers can protect employees by creating effective handwashing areas and alcohol-based sanitisers and masks.
They can also help by catering to the employees’ COVID-19 tests, and where possible organize company-wide vaccination for willing employees. This goes a long way to ensure employees are not compromised.
6. Pay for their Work from Home Offices
Before the pandemic, it was common to work from the couch or from the dining table. Now that the bulk of the work is being done from home, companies are paying for their employees work from home offices. Some pay a one-time fund while others pay a monthly stipend to help workers set up their desks, lamps, standing desks, lamps and WiFi.
Working from the couch for long hours can be tiring and unhealthy, and this goes a long way to enable employees to be productive, comfortable and feel supported.
Working from home will require you to make adjustments on how you view work, schedules and output in order to have a healthy work-life balance. Hopefully, this article will go a long way in helping you get started.
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