Back to school season is upon us, and this year is going to look very different because of the Covid-19 pandemic. Varying school openings paired with a lack of available child care can mean some major challenges for your employees and your business this fall.
As a business owner, you are in the unique position to offer flexibility and support for your staff during this time. So here are some practical ways that you can support your team members who are caring for children this fall.
Update Your Work At Home Policies
It is always a good idea to get clear on expectations and what it looks like to work remotely, if applicable. Discuss responsibilities, reporting and what you expect out of each team member and department during this transition. If you took the time to hire the right people, I bet you will be pleasantly surprised how the majority of your staff will actually exceed your expectations.
Switch Up Your Work Week
This will vary based on your industry, but many business owners are looking at alternative work schedules as an option for working parents. One of my team members lives in a school district that has decided to do virtual-only classes every Friday. So many parents, if they're still in the office, are scrambling to find child care or are faced with leaving their kids at home. Offering them the option to work from home on Fridays, or to make up hours during the evening or on a weekend, would go a long way to easing their stress during this difficult situation.
You could also consider doing a meeting audit, where you review all the standing meetings you have scheduled and see how you could streamline and shorten the ones that are truly necessary. Talk to your employees and find out what their schooling situation will look like in the fall and then brainstorm together how to make it work for the both of you.
Give Your Employees (and Their Kids) The Tools They Need to Be Successful
None of us planned to do virtual learning this fall, and many of your employees may be nervous about how they are going to manage working full time and teaching their kids from home. So consider providing your team members (and their kids) with the tools they need to be successful.
For example, a year of the video game Prodigy Math is less than $60 a year and would allow team members to give their kids a fun learning activity that they could do while their parents are on a zoom call. Or maybe offer a monthly stipend for Outschool classes so that their kids could stay engaged and learning while at home. You could also offer up a bonus to help your employees cover supplies or learning materials. A little bit of investment will go a long way to helping them be successful this school year.
Give Them a Boost
If your employees are working from home, consider offering to pay $25 or maybe $50 extra a month to use towards their internet bill. This can be really helpful for team members that had to upgrade their service plan to accommodate multiple family members working and schooling from home at the same time.
Supporting your team members with children this fall doesn't have to cost a lot, but will go a long way in terms of relationship building and easing the stress and anxiety of the situation.