Working parents during pandemic times know all too well how much more difficult childcare has become. And with professional duties in the mix, many working parents in distributed teams may struggle to find balance in their daily lives. In fact, the APA reported that three in four working parents said they needed more emotional support due to their increased responsibilities at work and at home.
These are truly unprecedented times and HR managers must also adjust by being more accommodating to the needs of working parents with young children at home. One of your priorities should be to check on your employees’ well-being before parental stress takes a toll on their work productivity and team morale. You can provide the much-needed support that the working parents in your distributed team are seeking through these top tips.
Communicate with your staff who are working parents
Whether an employee is working from home or in an office, they will encounter difficulties if they cannot easily communicate with their managers and co-workers. The Harvard Business Review emphasizes that employees struggle whenever they have limited access to managerial support and communication. Since parents are already pillars in their homes, providing them with a reliable support system at work would help alleviate the burden at work.
Proper communication is crucial so that you can understand and deliver what your workers need in their professional and personal lives. Go beyond emails and provide more opportunities for communication through work messaging channels that allow employees to message and call one another, especially when they need help or mentoring. Team leaders and HR managers should also do daily check-ins to let employees know that they are available and open for correspondence.
Ensure flexible work arrangements, especially with meetings
If you’re not a parent yourself, it’s not easy to understand how insanely busy their schedules are throughout the year, especially in these difficult times. Marcus emphasizes that parents have added responsibilities such as homeschooling and keeping kids entertained throughout summer vacations. These are obviously not ideal and a huge adjustment for families with kids, but you can make it easier for them by offering flexible work arrangements. A flexitime setup gives parents more control over their daily schedules, allowing them to dedicate enough time for both their families and their work. You should also discuss meeting schedules with your employees, so that they can concentrate on important work matters during a time when their children may not need urgent attention.
Help parents prepare for the worst
When you have a distributed team, you may not witness first-hand the panic and the stress that working parents experience whenever their family members get sick. Due to their worry, your employees may struggle to focus on their job and compromise their work performance.
Company policies regarding family emergencies must be discussed with working parents as early as possible. For instance, let your employees know how they can alert their boss regarding any unexpected situations. It is also important to openly discuss how they can cover or return to their tasks after caring for their sick family members.
Make time for socialization
Your employees can still interact and bond with each other, even in a distributed work setup. This will not only help them de-stress, it can also strengthen their professional relationships and improve their team morale. Thanks to today’s technologies, your team can hold virtual coffee breaks and work parties using video conferencing platforms. Your team can also play together using virtual games on these video conferencing apps.
Consider parent-focused benefits
A study published by SAGE Journals on parents' experiences revealed that working parents struggled with their children’s education and their routine. Indeed, parents juggled multiple work and personal responsibilities as they abruptly adjusted to the remote work setup during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Supporting your team workers in these departments can help them improve their work performance. Besides offering flexible work hours, you can also offer to provide backup care or virtual tutoring services for a number of workdays. By giving them peace of mind regarding their child’s safety and educational needs, your remote employees can focus and give their best during work. You should also consider offering resources on how they can teach their kids and navigate through their routines.
The working parents in your distributed team may need your help, and you can extend your support by communicating regularly, offering flexible work arrangements, preparing for emergencies, conducting social events, and considering work benefits. Through the Oyster Platform, you can easily offer help to the working parents in your distributed team, wherever they may be in this world!
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