9 Great Examples and Tips of How Companies Can Support Parents Working From Home
Many employers have begun to recognise the impact of this strain on their employees and have taken several effective steps to help reduce their burden. Wherever possible, they do things like offering more flexible work schedules or paid parental leaves.
Working parents are always on double duty, especially mums, who are more tasked with managing the home, kids as well as their work. The COVID-19 pandemic and resulting lockdown has increased their pressure manifold. Working parents now have to manage and care for their kids and family at home in the absence of professional caregivers, as well as work from home, increasing their workload and responsibility greatly. This puts immense strain on employees who are working parents and have a family at home to take care of while performing their daily professional duties.
Many employers have begun to recognise the impact of this strain on their employees and have taken several effective steps to help reduce their burden. Wherever possible, they do things like offering more flexible work schedules or paid parental leaves. There are many ways employers can support working parents. Employers can learn from the tried and tested methods of prominent companies or devise unique methods of their own.
Here, in this blog, we take inspiration from the six best examples of companies that have used impactful and creative methods to support parents working from home. The list is then followed by three bonus tips or ways employers can support working parents.
- Stamps.com conducts activities like petting zoos, character lunches and virtual magic shows
This internet-based shipping and mailing service provider has created different programmes to motivate its workforce to actively practice self-care during the working from home period. Not just that, the company has devised a unique method to deliver children-friendly entertainment directly to the living room of its parental employees.
The employees at Stamps.com enjoy the benefits of employee upliftment programmes such as mindfulness sessions and mediation, which helps them maintain and enhance the balance between their professional and personal responsibilities at home. All this happens while their children are kept engaged and distracted with activities like virtual magic shows as well as virtual petting zoos.
The primary goal of this initiative is to break the monotony of being at home and encourage employees to focus on work while their children are kept busy and entertained.
- Twitter has created educational resources and online activities
In the previous years, working parents used to finally find some quality time for themselves during the summer holidays as the children went to summer camps during their vacations. Twitter aims to replicate this experience virtually by creating an 8-week program that is designed to entertain the kids of their employees while keeping them happy and occupied.
This program is dubbed as Camp Twitter; it includes a healthy mix of on-demand and live classes and activities on different topics and subjects chosen by the parents like music, cooking and learning to do household chores. Parents also get to opt for and attend live webinars conducted by health experts and psychologists, and can seek personal one-to-one guidance, if required.
- Daily storytelling or book reading sessions initiated by Vox Media
Vox Media has found a unique and the most cost-effective way to keep their employees’ children active and engaged while their parents indulge in their professional duties from home. Sometimes, employee engagement and family-specific activities can be a low-cost affair, even more than one would expect, and all one needs is a good storybook.
In the thick of the lockdown, this digital media enterprise decided to host daily storytelling or story reading activities for the children of their employees. Even its CEO joined in the fun sharing dad jokes and reading stories during one of their more memorable online sessions.
To help their employees keep their children engaged, Vox Media also recommended a list of at-home activities for kids, such as online classes and museum tours, to keep them engaged during their extended period of staying at home.
- Linkedin is helping its parent employees swap activity ideas and find tutor support from peers
Parents often bond together to share and exchange tried and tested ideas and advice on various child improvement activities. To encourage these discussions among its employees, the Parents at Linkedin — an Employee Resource Group — decided to create a Linkedin group that would serve as a global forum for its employees to share and swap ideas about child improvement activities that can aid in keeping children engaged during the lockdown.
Within a few days of creating the group, it already had more than 1600 global members who were eager to acquire new ideas or share tried and tested ideas. The group involved LinkedIn employees who are parents, aunts, uncles as well as caregivers, eagerly sharing their parenting hacks and other helpful resources. This served as a dependable platform for many working LinkedIn parents to find ways to keep their children engaged during their work from home hours.
- GitLab allows kids to take over after the meeting ends
At GitLab, employees, in general, have always worked remotely, thus, many have been managing working with children at home. The simplest way in which the company is providing support to its working parent employees is by asking them to allow their kids to take over the online session if the online meeting ends earlier than expected.
This creates an opportunity for kids to meet other employees’ children from across the globe. It enables them to watch and learn about what life is in different countries and they could even end up making new friends for life. Most importantly, it gives the parents a few precious minutes to relax and be by themselves when their kids are busy interacting and socializing away.
Apart from these informal encounters, GitLab also hosts “Friends and Family” gatherings virtually. Enthusiastic working parents can join these video call sessions to receive and share tips about homeschooling, child improvement and other topics related to childcare.
- A 3-hour break helps Skyscanner parent employees spend quality time with children
As the kids are home too while the parents work from home, parents have no option but to manage their essential childcare responsibilities around conference calls and project deadlines. To make things easier for their employees, Skyscanner, the metasearch online travel agency initiated a 3-hour break across its company during the afternoon.
On every working day between 12 to 3 pm, it encourages its employees to stop work and move away from their monitors or laptop screens. This gives their employees the opportunity to spend quality time with their children, homeschool them, snooze along with them or simply finish the childcare responsibilities for the day, without any interruption or disruption.
This is a great way to support their employees while they support the company during the lockdown.
Bonus tips: Ways employers can support working parents
We have looked at some of the best examples of how prominent companies are actively supporting their employees to manage their parental responsibilities effectively. Let us now discover other ways employers can support working parents employed with their company. These are easy to undertake immediately and will help parent employees greatly.
- Provide flexible work schedules
When working from home, working parents would need flexible work hours to effectively manage their work as well as their children. With parents having to spend more time than usual on childcare activities, for most parents, it is like doing double shifts daily, which can be extremely draining, physically, mentally and emotionally.
A flexible work schedule allows working parents to effectively manage their family and children while also being productive at work. It will lend support to your employees, which is really critical during these difficult times. An ideal flexible work schedule could include teleworking, reducing the workweek or offering longer paid paternal leaves, so that your employees can care for their children in this scenario.
- Support your workforce with affordable, accessible and safe childcare options
As childcare options and schools have closed worldwide due to the pandemic, several working parents are left with very limited or no opportunities for external childcare options. As a result, they are forced to leave their kids under limited supervision, greatly compromising the safety and wellbeing of their children.
Employers can lend a helping hand to these stressed working parents in many different ways by providing a referral system for childcare (where parents can find the best childcare ideas that can benefit during the lockdown) and subsidies. These arrangements would not just provide support to your parent employees but it will also help them focus better on their work, thus, enhancing productivity.
- Help your employees cope with stress
Stress is a cumulative factor that comes naturally when laden with a burden of responsibilities. And working parents are the most stressed, especially, when they are working from home with their entire family running around them. This kind of stress can male your employees anxious, scared or confused about their current situation. If your employees are in this mental condition, it is unhealthy not just for the company but also for their family, particularly the children.
Companies can support their working parents by helping them cope with stress, anxiety and boredom. Organizations can devise innovative methods as mentioned in the examples above to keep the children engaged while their parents complete their professional tasks and targets. Employers should provide resources and time to working parents to care for and provide comfort to their children. After all, if the children are happy and healthy, parents would be able to focus better on work.
The pandemic has proved that working parents are the real superheroes. However, even superheroes do need help and assistance, especially, during this tough phase where they have to manage responsibility as well as productivity. Therefore, a helping hand from the employer creates a great support system for the employee to lean on and accomplish their tasks and responsibilities.
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