Cartoon Coffee Break: Support Working Parents During COVID-19
April 5, 2021
Editor's Note: This post is part of our "Cartoon Coffee Break" series. While we take talent management seriously, we also know it's important to have a good laugh. Check back every two weeks for a new ReWork cartoon.
Throughout the pandemic, working parents have been juggling caregiver responsibilities with being productive during work hours. As a result, the stress levels of these employees have been significantly higher than those without children.
It’s up to employers and business leaders to help working parents manage their unique work-from-home challenges. One of the many ways we try to do this at Cornerstone is through our partnership with Sylvan Learning and their virtual tutoring services.
A few other ways companies can support working parents is by creating more flexible work schedules and adjusting xpectations. These efforts signal to your working parents that they have your support and improve their job satisfaction and retention.
Allowing Flexible Work Schedules
In addition to their daily job tasks, working parents have to manage their children’s schedules. Parents have to set up online classrooms and help their child with homework. That’s in addition to completing their own work assignments and attending meetings.
Employers can help alleviate some of this stress by allowing for flexible work schedules where possible. This way, working parents can design their days so that they prioritize their children’s needs and job tasks at different times of the day. Allow them to take shorter work days or work weeks if necessary—studies show that this can reduce burnout and improve productivity.
Help Working Parents Redesign Their Jobs
A recent study found that about 60% of working parents haven’t had any outside help with childcare during the pandemic, resulting in more parents leaving their jobs. Working mothers in particular have been dropping out of the workforce at higher rates than working fathers.
In order to retain these employees, business leaders may need to temporarily reset job expectations. Start by hosting open conversations with working parents to get a better understanding of the obstacles currently impacting their productivity and overall job satisfaction. Ask them which parts of their job they can and can no longer accomplish, and then allow them to craft a new job description accordingly.
Through these methods, working parents will feel supported by their employers during this difficult time and, more importantly, stay in the workforce.