How To Support Working Parents During The Pandemic And Beyond


Zoom school is back in session for many parents across the country. Working parents have gone from checking in on homework to becoming a large part of the educational process for students worldwide. Today on the WorkBright blog, we wanted to share a few ideas to support your organization’s working parents.

1. Reduce Time Spent In Meetings

As working parents are dealing with working from home and taking care of their children’s educational needs, unproductive meetings can become a nuisance. When hosting a meeting, what do you want to get out of it? Milling around for thirty minutes to an hour can be fun, but time is valuable for working parents. Figure out which meetings are essential, and take the other meetings off the schedule.

Here are some tips on running engaging virtual meetings to help you create meaningful discussions.

Think About Meeting Requirements

Do your employees know that they can phone in or turn the video off when they need to? Many schools require their students to keep their video on throughout the school day, and it’s causing a lot of headaches for parents. Think about the requirements you have for your employees? Adults can be engaged without showing their faces on video.

Give Your Team A Meeting Pass

We’ve all had that one day where we wake up and know that going to another meeting would be horrible for our mental health. We suck it up and get through meetings anyway because it’s part of our jobs. We all need a meeting off sometimes, though. Give the people on your team a meeting pass or two every quarter. If they wake up and decide they can’t make it to an internal meeting, let them “pull” out their pass and get some time away from Zoom.

2. Encourage Working Parents To Take Time Off, Even If They Can’t Go On Vacation

Since so much of the world is still shut down to visitors, it’s more challenging than ever to convince people to take time off. Time off is crucial, especially for working parents juggling so many hats. Let everyone on your team know that taking time off is vital. Lead by example, especially if you are also a parent. Your employees will follow the lead of executives and higher-level employees.

3. Find Ways To Support Working Parents Financially

Working parents need your financial support. Here are a few ideas to think about:

  • Create a flexible spending account (FSA) for expenses like home office supplies, childcare, and extra healthcare expenses.
  • Build an emergency fund that all your employees can tap into when they need it.
  • See if your employees will pool sick days at work if someone needs an extra day or two to handle family emergencies.
  • Provide generous family leave for fathers and mothers at your company.
  • Figure out what your employees love, and don’t be afraid to surprise them with a gift card or present after a rough few weeks. Sometimes we need someone else to splurge on things we wouldn’t buy ourselves.

4. Create A Slack Channel For Parents

Slack is the ultimate chat experience for many companies. A parenting Slack channel is the perfect way to connect your company’s parents, especially while everyone is working remotely. Encourage new and old parents to share their stories, give advice, and ask for help in the parenting Slack channel.

Don’t force chatter about parenting to be confined to this Slack channel. We all love pictures of cute babies! Your employees should feel like the parenting channel is a safe space for advice and help from other parents. Employee resource groups like ones for parents, women, people of color, etc. are powerful tools for employees and employers.

5. Move Social Activities To Working Hours

We all love connecting with our coworkers, but are you pushing people out due to the time you host social activities? Most parents want to spend their evenings and weekends with their children. Even the most high-level executive eventually wants to put away their work hats and put on their parenting ones.

By moving social activities to work hours, you ensure that your working parents can attend Zoom happy hours, team building activities, and lunch and learns. If you host these activities, ensure they are during a time where most people can join. You are always going to have one or two stragglers who can’t attend your events. Do the best you can to accommodate everyone and use tools like Doodle to find a good time to meet.

6. Rethink Your Current Health Insurance Options

One of the best ways to support working parents right now is to rethink your health insurance options. Have you ever thought about the protection that your current health insurance options provide children? Your health insurance options may give adults high-quality care, but be less than stellar for their children. Consider what your health insurance is like for all ages.

If 2020 has taught us anything, we need to take better care of our mental and physical health and well-being. Figure out what your health insurance provider has to offer. Is it helpful for your team and their families? If not, how can you provide what they need to thrive?

7. Create A Benefits Campaign To Let Working Parents Know About Their Options

If benefits aren’t used, they can be lost in the shuffle, or even removed. Are you sure that your parents and employees understand what their options are? Write out all the benefits you offer employees and working parents. Create a benefits campaign to let everyone on your team know what you offer them.

  • Create a brochure featuring a synopsis of all the benefits.
  • Host a webinar (that you record) sharing all of this information for current employees. Make your future employees watch the recorded webinar when they onboard.
  • Send out a series of emails to your employees throughout the year, letting them know about these benefits.

8. Survey Parents On Your Team To See What They Are Struggling With

Last but not least, let your parents tell you what they are struggling with. You can guess all day, but there is nothing better than hearing it from your working parents. The only way to create a truly tailored plan to support working parents is to ask the parents on your staff.

Make the survey quick and leave it as open-ended as possible. You can use a tool like Survey Monkey or Google Forms to create a short survey for your team’s parents. Surveys are encouraged if you have a large number of parents on your team.

If you’d rather have conversations with your parents one-on-one, ask them to sit down with you for a quick 15-minute chat (during the work day, of course!) During this chat, ask them what they’ve been struggling with and how you can serve them and their needs best. Compile this data across the parents you talk to and come up with a few things you can do for your team based on your conversations.

Conclusion: Support Working Parents

The working parents on your team deserve your support. Parents work tirelessly to support your organization and their families. Many of our parents are struggling to keep up with work and family duties with school back in session. Understanding is the first step to supporting working parents. The next step is focused action to improve their lives.