Health and Wellness, Team Morale

How to Support Remote Employees with Families

5 Great Ways to Support Remote Employees with Families

With the outbreak of COVID-19, also known as coronavirus, many employees are working from home and with most K-12 schools across the country shutdown it can be very challenging to juggle work, parenting and keep up with the children’s schoolwork.

With this is mind, employers should implement family friendly-policies to help support their employees and alleviate the stress of this uncertain time. Not only will this help your employee be more productive, but it will also help reduce the burden on their children as well.  Here are 5 things that will help support your employees with families that are working from home (and when they are back in the office too).

  1. Flexibility is key 

    Being flexible with your employees can take many forms, but is the best way to support your overstretched employees. First, it’s important to understand that each family has a different situation and different needs. Maybe providing your employees with a more flexible schedule will help. If possible, let them do their work whatever time is best for them. Be conscientious when scheduling meetings. Is a meeting really necessary? If so, can you ask the employee first if it is a good time before putting it on the calendar? This little things can help relieve stress and pressure and can go a long way in helping your employees feel supported. Also be understanding that children may interrupt a conference call or online meeting.

  2. Paid parental leave or additional PTO time 

    With school closings, not all families have easy access to childcare. If your employees are unable to work remotely, if possible, it’s a good idea to provide paid parental leave so they can stay healthy and safe without having to worry if their position is in jeopardy. Reducing the potential financial burden for your employees is one of the best ways you can help. For employees that are working from home, be flexible with your PTO policies. Let them take time to focus on their family where they not expected to be ‘on the clock.’  This might also be a good time to offer additional PTO days to use during this hard time.

  3. Medical support and guidance  

    A pandemic is an uncertain time for all. Provide your employees with guidelines to follow should they or a family member become sick. Additionally, employers can help communicate testing instructions and other helpful information from healthcare providers, phone numbers to call should they feel ill, and guidance regarding safe transport to healthcare providers.  Also, don’t forget to consider your employee’s mental health. Send out communications regarding resources available for them to help with stress, anxiety or other mental health issues. This can include a list of community resources and an explanation of how to access mental-health and other resources in their benefits plans and employee assistance programs, and information on how much coverage is available. There are also many online resources for them to access.

  4. Check-in Regularly

    Sometimes just having someone checking-in and listening can be a big help. Reach out to your employees to talk, ask them how they are doing and give them a space to share more than just work issues. Ask them regularly if there is anything you or the company can do to support them. This is a relatively easy thing to do, but can have a big impact.

  5. Provide Opportunities for Team Engagement and Appreciation  

    Working from home with children can also leave your employees feeling isolated and lacking in ‘adult time.’ Provide opportunities for your team to get together and engage in a more social activity. Maybe host a virtual happy hour or ‘game night.’ You can also send a gift or other items that will help them feel appreciated and supported. We have Work-from-home swag kits with a few fun items. Or maybe send them gift cards to local restaurants or grocery stores that are offering delivery options.  Or even some toys or games like a teddy bear or custom rubiks cube. Kids love to get swag and providing these items available to your employees shows them that you are considering their families.

In the end, showing your employees that you recognize the challenges of being a working parent and providing the recognition and support they need will create a positive culture and can help you retain employees and have a more productive team. But also having clear policies in place and offering some extra support or perks can also be a big help in times of uncertainty.