This is how you can support the working-from-home parents in your team
It may be 2022, but it’s still usually mums that take on childcare responsibilities. This, of course, affects the level of opportunities that mothers are given in the workplace. If we take the Covid pandemic as an example, we see that working mothers have been the most affected section of society when it comes to job loss. In the US, according to the Current Population Survey, of the 10 million people that have lost their jobs, one third were mothers with children of school age.
In this new digital age, though, it’s possible for parents to do their jobs effectively while working from home – with some support from thoughtful employers, of course. If you have mums, or parents, in your team – we gathered some tips to help you support your employees to be the happiest parents and workers they can be.
Keep things flexible for parents
The easiest way to support the working-from-home parents on your team is the most obvious one; keep things flexible. Childcare responsibilities can make it difficult to focus during normal working hours – not to mention lead to exhaustion and burnout.
By allowing them to choose the working hours that best suit them, though, you won’t just allow them to improve their work-life balance and personal well-being; it will also help them to feel connected to and appreciated by your organisation. Plus, offering them the opportunity to create their own schedule means they can work effectively – which will only serve to boost productivity!
Encourage clear communication within your team
To keep things running smoothly, encourage people to share their new flexible schedules with wider teams. Whether this takes the form of a shared outlook calendar or a well-written out-of-office email, this will help to manage expectations about when people can expect responses to communications.
On this note, it might be worth considering “core hours” for meetings and when people need to be online; perhaps everyone can work to their own schedules, so long as they’re online between 11 and 2 for catch-ups, for example? Find a solution that works for you and your team, and accept that you might have to take things on a case by case basis. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to people, after all, and it’s important to consider the context.
Give a 4-day week a try
As well as allowing people to keep unorthodox hours, it also might be worth considering four-day working weeks – not just for working-from-home parents, but for all team members. After all, evidence has repeatedly shown that the arrangement benefits both employees and employees. Indeed, New Zealand based company, Perpetual Guardian, conducted a trial 4-day week study and found that employees didn’t just maintain the same productivity level; they also showed improvements in job satisfaction, teamwork, stress levels, work/life balance and company loyalty.
Show your employees you trust them
Placing trust in your employees, too, is guaranteed to benefit everyone. The time when working from home was frowned upon seems far away, but the reality is that most organisations did not trust their employees to effectively work from home… until the pandemic showed them it could be done. In fact, Covid restrictions revealed that most people are actually more productive at home!
If a working-from-home parent has to duck out early because their child is sick, or they have an appointment, or there’s a school event on, let them do so. Team members that feel valued by their employers are more likely to work hard and feel a sense of loyalty to their business.
Finally, don’t expect people to pretend their children aren’t there. Ask about them, accept that they might crash the odd video call, say hello to them, and treat them like human beings. Taking an interest in their families is the easiest way to make working-from-home parents feel valued and seen!