Parents and businesses quickly pivoted to accommodate work from home, extra safety precautions in the workplace, and care for- and schooling of – kids while working. This all was a stretch of patience and acceptance of the integration of home and work life while everyone adjusted.
And now the great unknown is faced regarding what the new school year will bring. Parents are receiving information regarding school and day care center schedules for fall. Many have also received notification of return to work, the need to focus on work, and/or changes in absenteeism policies. Many working parents have limited options and can’t work from home regardless of accommodations, even when not feeling it is safe to send children to school or daycare.
As one author summed it up, “Let me say the quiet part loud: In the Covid-19 economy, you’re allowed only a kid or a job” Deb Perelman Kids, Career and Schooling
The struggle for businesses is just as real. So, what is the answer that benefits everyone? There may not be just one answer, but certainly options need to be considered.
First and foremost, have conversations. Have open conversations about the situation and bring the concerns to the forefront. While you may not have the answers yet, listen in order to understand what employees and working parents at your organization are experiencing.
Perhaps survey employees and schedule focus groups for an in-depth assessment.
Meet with employees to brainstorm solutions. For example an idea could be shared spaces for 3 – 6 children of similar age to meet for virtual schooling supervised by a substitute teacher? What other options might there be that ensures employee comfort and children safety?
There are many options being considered. The new reality is that finding the best ones for your company and employees – actually your community – is necessary. More encompassing options that are inclusive of societal issues would provide a tremendous service for those in your community who may have lost employment, healthcare, daycare, and school options.
There has been much to learn from all of this, but 2 lessons no one can distribute. COVID revealed how a virus can cause the world to pause, and demonstrated how interconnected we all are. We are all in this together and ensuring each other’s well-being matters more than ever.
Image by Peggy und Marco Lachmann-Anke from Pixabay