How can HR support working parents during lockdown?

Supporting working parents during lockdown

According to a Working Parent Survey Report by employer-led childcare funding solution Catapillr, “Businesses are failing to offer enough support to working parents during the coronavirus pandemic. And there is “a notable gap between how businesses are supporting working parents, and what these parents need during this challenging time.” 

Could your employer do more?

We all know someone who is really struggling to work remotely from home, whilst trying at the same time to home school their kids. Some days it’s impossible and progress is limited. In addition, the balancing act of worrying about a child’s education and getting everything done for a boss/manager, can leave people’s mental health feeling battered and their sanity in tatters.

Acting now will help staff retention and productivity

So, what’s the solution? What can you do to not only understand a working parent’s situation, but also be more supportive

Remember in many cases failing to support parents now, may well have consequences in the long term for your business’ reputation, as well as staff retention and productivity.

Below are a few suggestions that are worth further investigation.

  • Bespoke help – Not all parents are in the same situation. Many are facing tough challenges, so a one size solution will not fit everyone. You will need to take the time to discover and then appreciate people’s differing requirements.
  • It’s good to talk – Engage in open and honest conversations with working parents to look at ways to help them to prioritise tasks, measure performance by output (not time at their computer) and achieve the ideal work-life balance.
  • Routine – Both children and adults alike thrive on routines, so remind them that it is important to set out structure for the day. And just like a child who has their workload interspaced with time out (play and fun), they should also look to do the same.
  • To flex or not to flex – Talk to employees about flexible working arrangements. This could include altering their role responsibilities or splitting their hours over more days.
  • Extra leave – Discuss whether they would like additional time off and whether it is paid, or perhaps taken as holiday or unpaid leave.
  • Furlough – Use the job retention scheme and consider putting working parents on furlough (partial or full) while schools remain closed.
  • Wellbeing – Check in with staff regularly. Aim to put their wellbeing at the top of the list. Ensure they have access to the right information, resources and any learning opportunities so they can be more efficient, save time and keep their stress levels in check.

For help, support and advice in ways to support your staff, please get in touch today.

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