It’s great that employers are considering the health and wellbeing of their teams and having regular meetings to stay connected, but have you considered how stressful this can be for parents?
Not all families have space for everyone to have their own room. The noise level of the meetings can be so high that others in the house find it hard to work, and trying to keep the children quiet and out of the room for back to back meetings is unfair and can be difficult and stressful for everyone.
Working parents now have the added responsibility of teaching duties, ensuring their children are doing something educational, whilst striving to keep up with their own work responsibilities. There is no doubt about it, this can be exhausting. Many parents feel guilty about not being able to help their children with their schoolwork, especially if they have specialist needs or are in primary school. Let’s be honest, it’s unfair for children to be expected get on with it.
So as an employer, what can you do to help to reduce the stress your employees with children might feel?
You may want to consider if all the hour long video calls are really necessary. Are they a productive use of time? Are they organised to maintain a structure which some people need- but perhaps this is unworkable for parents and adding additional pressure. Maybe a normal telephone call or time limit for meetings will help to reduce the pressure? This will help to maintain contact, but allow flexibility for child care duties and be more accommodating for a little one’s attention span. Parents will come back to work when their children settle but they are likely to be interrupted a lot throughout the day.
Parents may not want to admit how much of a challenge the current situation is, worried about future opportunities in an already precarious situation. But as an employer, showing empathy and an acceptance of these challenges can help your employees to feel more relaxed and at ease, which is likely to increase employee productivity whilst promoting health and wellbeing.
*Wrote in self isolation with a young family. Apologies for any unnoticed errors (please DM met if you notice any :))
#workingfromhome #empathy #workplacehealth