The Coronavirus pandemic has thrown a barrage of new hurdles at businesses with working parents really starting to feel the pressure on their mental health. Those working from home with kids are likely to be juggling parenting, homeschooling and their workload. The burden can feel overwhelming and it’s crucial employers help their people to find a healthy work life balance. 

Top tips for creating a new work life balance for parents:

  1. Offer flexibility 
  2. Have strong HR solutions in place
  3. To video call or not to video call 
  4. Review resource and workload 
  5. Keep communicating 

1. offer flexibility to parents working from home

Working parents need the support of their line managers, HR and their leadership more than ever before. Every family will have their own dynamic and unique set of challenging circumstances so being able to offer multiple options will help parents’ mental health. Where possible, give your employees the option to work flexible hours so they can schedule workload around their family. This might mean working in the evenings or half a day at the weekend to help balance work and family life out.

2. have strong HR solutions in place

For some, offering flexible hours simply won’t be enough to achieve a new work life balance and you’ll need more robust HR processes in place. You may wish to explore offering unpaid leave or introducing additional holiday purchase schemes. This allows working parents to review and manage both their family and work commitments.

Be open to full-time parents exploring short-term part-time working patterns. It’s also a good time to create an enhanced flexible working or mental health policy, this will demonstrate your commitment to employees with children and their mental well-being.  

3. to video call or not to video call 

For many, video calls and meetings are a lifeline when working from home. For working parents, especially dual working parents, it can be a huge cause of stress and anxiety.

Where possible, try to schedule video calls to coordinate with family life. You can also take the pressure off parents in advance by reassuring them that it’s OK if they need to dip out for five minutes or to have a little one present in the background. Avoid scheduling hour-long back to back video calls, this is likely to put immense pressure on the parent's mental health. 

4. review resource and workload 

If you have team members who have been furloughed under the job retention scheme, be mindful that there may be additional work some members are currently picking up in order to adhere to deadlines. This will add pressure during an already mentally challenging period.

Review workstreams, resource and deadlines and ensure any updates to these are clearly communicated to help relieve the burden. If a number of employees reduce their hours, you may also want to consider hiring temporary resource in the short-term to fill any gaps and ease the workload pressure on existing teams. Your expert Randstad consultant will be able to support you here. 

5. keep communicating 

It’s very easy to share lots of communications with your employees at the start of a crisis but consistent and ongoing support is crucial. In addition to business updates, you can share learning resources and practical tips for working parents too.

The pressure on working parents is likely to grow the longer they’re at home, especially for families with younger children. Supporting them with finding a new work life balance will remain an ongoing task throughout the pandemic and beyond.

If you would like to speak with one of our specialists for further advice or a discussion about your recruitment needs, please contact us.