September 09, 2020 - 5 min read
Working from homeschool
This fall, your employees with school-aged children will be working a double-shift. Here’s how you can help.
To help slow the spread of COVID-19, California education officials have issued guidelines that would end most in-person classes this fall and require the majority of students enrolled in private and public K-12 schools to attend virtual classes.
As the start of the school year joins the growing list of events that have been upended by COVID-19, remote employees may struggle to balance their work responsibilities with the need to support children who will be learning at home.
Blue Shield of California is committed to helping business owners and their employees navigate these complex challenges. As your company develops policies to assist remote workers with school-aged children, the following tips can help make a real difference in their daily lives.
Communicate with compassion
The pressures of caring for school-aged children during a pandemic while working remotely can be mentally and emotionally draining.
Voice your concern for your employee's wellbeing, along with the health and safety of their families.
Share that you understand and appreciate everything that's on their plate. Encourage team members to speak freely with one other about any conflicts they may have or pressures they might be feeling. If possible, create an email address or a special telephone number that allows employees to express their concerns in confidence. In times of crisis, a listening ear can go a long way toward building loyalty.
Add flexibility to the schedule
Even before the pandemic, for employees with school-aged children, juggling childcare with work was already a challenge.
Give remote workers the freedom to be productive outside of a traditional 8-5 schedule.
Reevaluate your existing company policies on how employees can use their flextime or paid time off. If your budget allows for it, consider extending the amount of paid leave your business provides.
Connect your employees to childcare resources in their neighborhoods or exploring the possibility of reducing their work hours.
If possible, consider establishing a job-share policy where two people work part-time to fulfill the duties of one role.
Ask your managers and team leaders to think creatively about adding extra time to deadlines and to consider scheduling recurring meetings later in the day when school-aged children are more likely to have completed their virtual classes.
Prioritize mental health
It's perfectly normal for your remote employees to feel anxious during this time. Having to manage their job responsibilities during a pandemic while assisting their children with virtual grammar, math, and science lessons aren't easy tasks.
Encourage your remote employees to take active steps to protect their mental health. Teleconferencing, for example, can help employees working remotely feel more connected to each other.
There are also a number of free or low-cost communication and productivity tools such as Slack and Yammer that businesses can implement to encourage connectivity throughout the work day.
Encourage your employees to take a break for a few minutes during the day or go for a walk outside if possible. Blue Shield has a variety of resources to help your employees make healthy life choices.
In collaboration with Teladoc®, Blue Shield of California is now offering mental health services for members by phone, app, or video conferencing through the end of the year at no cost.
Offer low-cost perks
Right now even simple things such as preparing a meal can become a burden to families who are juggling the added task of homeschooling their children during the workweek.
Look to your teams for other ideas. There could be a wide variety of high-impact, low-cost perks to help your employees get through these difficult times.
Small gestures such as these can have a big impact on the
overall morale and wellbeing of your staff.
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