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Employers head back to school

How many of you right now, feel like you’re in that Friends episode where they’re trying to maneuver the couch up the stairs, and Ross is yelling, “Pivot! Pivot! PIVOT!”? Between the change-of-direction for school openings, and the ongoing CDC and local regulations updates, employers are having to learn the fine art of being flexible. Whether you have working parents navigating part-time school schedules or an employee requesting time off to care for a family member, we are sharing some ideas that will help you support the caregivers in your organization.

Comm 101

As you probably read in our last post, we are huge proponents of communication. Talking with your employees and finding out what challenges they’re facing will be key in identifying steps you can take to support them. Because let’s face it, we may all be in this together, but each employee’s situation is different.

A Harvard Business School survey stated three out of four (73%) employees reported having some type of current caregiving responsibility. This survey was published last year; we can all only imagine what that percentage is currently. Communication is defined as an EXCHANGE of information, so it's important to remember that this communication is not just one way. While you may not be able to accommodate every request, it's important that you learn from your employees what their specific situations entail. Consider surveying your employees individually to understand what they can continue to perform in their job while trying to balance responsibilities at home.

Class Schedule

Not all employees have the ability to work 9 to 5 or full-time right now, depending on when their caregiving responsibilities are needed. Offering a flexible and/or reduced schedule, allows you to retain your employees, save on turnover costs, and still get the work done.

Another ‘flexible’ work arrangement to look at is job sharing. Two employees each work part-time for one full-time position.

“Chore Chart”

To great acclaim, parents have used chore charts for years. Why not introduce the adult version into your workplace. Similar in scope to a whiteboard, projects are posted on a community board for all employees to access. Employees wanting to tap into a hidden skill, or with extra bandwidth to jump in and help, sign up for tasks. This method also helps bridge any skill gaps that your organization may be experiencing, and it shows employees what their career path could like with the company.

Check out Miro. It's a free, collaborative online whiteboard platform, and integrates seamlessly with Microsoft, Google Suite, Slack, and other programs.

Extra Credit

Wouldn’t it be nice if you could give each employee a pay increase or additional paid time off, to cover their caregiving costs? The reality is, that’s not feasible for some employers, especially small businesses. If you have a small budget, there are some extras that you can offer that could make a significant impact. These extras might include:

  • Caregiving stipend for childcare or in-home care

  • Expenses stipend for internet or phone

  • Employee Assistance Program (EAP) – check with your health insurance or business insurance providers to see if they offer an EAP add-on to your existing plan

  • Access to a network of resources such as childcare providers or private tutors

  • Wellness gift card for things like an online yoga class, a massage, a new pair of running shoes, etc.

In addition to company-provided benefits, don't forget, your employees may also be eligible for Expanded Family and Medical Leave (eFMLA) under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFRCA).

Report Cards

Once you’ve implemented one or two of the ideas mentioned above, don’t stop there. Regularly check-in with each employee to see how they are doing, and if these new strategies are working. You may have to ‘pivot’ again. But keep talking and working together to find a mutual balance.

Join us on August 26th at 11:00 a.m., as we dive deeper into this topic. If you would like to get the conversation and process started before then, let's set up some time to talk through what's most beneficial for your organization.