How Can You Offer Support for Working Parents: 9 Top Tips
Remote learning has become increasingly common since the start of the global pandemic. However, It has posed several challenges, including increased expenses, mental health concerns, and dropout rates.
This is a major concern for working Filipino parents since the Philippines continues to be one of five countries in the world that have not started in-person classes, as of the third quarter of 2021.
With remote and hybrid working also being the norm for businesses, these working parents may be greatly affected by the opening of schools. However, here are some ways to provide support for working parents:
No parent should make an excuse just to look after their child’s needs. However, some parents feel the need to do so to avoid the perception that their kid is preventing them from doing their jobs properly.
Encourage transparency within your team by always having open lines of communication and being genuinely understanding of their situation. This can be mutually beneficial. On the one hand, employees will not feel that taking care of their family is a burden. Meanwhile, employers will have a clearer picture of the challenges their employees face, which can help you find ways to update policies in the workplace to improve productivity.
Stay Open to Suggestions
The best person to solve a problem is the one who is experiencing it.
While your company may offer known solutions to your employees, not all these can cater to all situations. Don’t hesitate in asking your employees what they think you can do to help them. It lets them know that the company is genuinely concerned about their well-being and would make it easier to address the challenges they face.
This is also a great way to keep your employees engaged even if they are working remotely. Encouraging them to put their ideas forward and putting those ideas into action can make them feel that they are valued and are contributing to the team’s success.
Consider Hiring a Professional
Opening lines of communication with employees is always a great way to connect with them and understand their grievances. However, the challenges that we faced over the past year and a half have been unlike any other time.
Supporting the mental well-being of your employees is essential now more than ever. Apart from working parents, some employees care for their elderly or other family members. These can be extremely difficult to manage, especially in these trying times, and encouragement from their superiors may not be enough.
Consider hiring a professional to help you check in with employees regularly. It can be an excellent way to provide employees with a more confidential avenue to share the burdens they are not yet ready to communicate to their superiors or peers.
Create a Parenting Group
Take the first step in creating a forum for parents within your company. It can be a place where they can share parenting tips, trade toys or clothes, or even point leads for a yaya, among other things.
Sharing the same office means they may share some similar challenges. However, not everyone is acquainted with each other. Larger companies have more people who may not know that they’re working in the same company. Meanwhile, new hires may not know enough people, especially if they were onboarded during this pandemic.
This disconnect is even more apparent now with the rise of remote working. A lot of the new hires may not even shake hands with the people they are working with.According to the New York Times Times, this may even result to a quicker turnover rate, as people easily leave their jobs because they haven’t been able to connect on a personal level with people in their company.
Creating an office-generated forum like this can help expand networking within employees. Parents may be able to learn from each other and can agree on the most ideal solutions that you can consider implementing in the office.
It can also be a strong support group for these parents, which builds camaraderie among employees and a better sense of belongingness.
Focus on Output over Work Hours
The rise of adopting a remote working setup challenged the traditional 8 to 5 work hours in our workplace. Ideally, it appears to be beneficial for parents to be staying at home with their family while earning a living.
However, the reality is that it poses more of a challenge for them as they must juggle work responsibilities, house chores, and parenting duties daily. It doesn’t help that remote learning classes happen during regular working hours. As a result, working parents may not be evaluated fairly if the basis is the number of hours they work.
In order to make this new reality in our ways of working effective, how we evaluate our remote employees should also evolve. Some of the top HR experts suggest drafting a remote monitoring policy, using a project management software, and empowering managers as a few examples of how you can evaluate your remote employees.
Add Tags to Your Email Subjects
Remote working has sometimes blurred the lines of when work time ends and personal time begins. It’s not uncommon to receive work emails outside of regular working hours, and while some choose to avoid it, others can’t help but respond or work on it.
Simply adding tags like “urgent” or “can wait until Monday” to your email subjects can help employees prioritize tasks accordingly. This allows employees to have a better work-life balance but still be able to produce the needed results.
Being considerate as an employer can go a long way for the morale of employees who appreciate small efforts like these.
Offer a Flexible Working Schedule
The hybrid work setup has expanded the definition of a flexible working schedule from strictly about time to now include where to work.
According to the Decoding Global Talent Report, 49% of working Filipinos surveyed in 2020 stated their preference for completely remote, while 48% prefer to have a combination of remote and on-site work if they are given the choice. As such, remote working will likely persist as part of our working norm for the foreseeable future.
While schools are still online, you can offer a flexible working schedule where employees can have some days in the office and some days working remotely.
Providing this option can help working parents better manage arrangements for the care of their children while they are at work. Additionally, you can also consider allowing some parents to start earlier in the day.
Also Read: 6 Tips to empower work-from-home parents
Consider Assisting in Child Care Arrangements
A working parent’s primary concern is always the welfare of their kids. However, it is not always easy to entrust your kids and your house to someone you hired but barely even know. As such, some working parents leave their kids with relatives who can take care of them.
But not everyone is lucky enough to have these options readily available for them. Providing ways to support them can help build loyalty while boosting productivity at work. Here are some examples:
Create a community for working parents. Finding capable and trustworthy house help can be difficult especially if you’re doing it blindly. As mentioned earlier, a forum where parents can connect and share ideas with each other can help with this and possibly other alternative solutions for working parents.
Negotiate discounts with child care facilities. Day care centers are not as common in the Philippines, but there are places that offer this service. Consider negotiating a discounted corporate rate with these care centers.
Repurpose idle spaces for on-site child care. With the hybrid setup becoming a norm, some offices may not be able to utilize 100% of the floor space. Explore the possibility of repurposing some of these spaces into child care facilities that are compliant with COVID-19 safety standards like this guide provided by the Center for Disease Control (CDC).
Maximize the Use of Vacation Leaves
Some companies offer a monetary equivalent to vacation leaves, which most employees opt for instead of going for a vacation. At times, it’s even a badge of honor for employees to show how dedicated they are to work.
However, we have been subjected to a different level of physical, mental, and even emotional exhaustion during this pandemic. This could be especially true for working parents, who also had to be the rock their children could lean on.
Maximizing vacation leaves and taking much-needed breaks can be how working parents can beat exhaustion. It doesn’t mean that you should leave town or anything. You can use it for a “mental health break” and just disconnect from anything related to work so that you can recharge.
Providing support for working parents doesn’t mean that the welfare of other employees is not being considered. These suggestions can also work in understanding the plight of the rest of the workforce.
However, we must recognize that working parents are responsible for their own lives and their children’s lives. Making sure that they can stay focused and productive will benefit their teams and the company.
To find more inspiration and insights on how to better relate with the workforce in this new normal, check out our Inspirations page.