Since the majority of people are working from home these days, working parents have a lot more on their plate. With their little kiddos running around in the back of Zoom meetings and check-ins, it can be a struggle to balance your home and office being the kitchen table.
We’ve compiled a few practices to help support the working parents on your team so they can continue being productive at home while ensuring their kids are also being looked after.
TLDR: Provide support and resources to busy working parents that allow them to be more productive. Encourage constant communication and support a flexible schedule that emphasizes balance. Give them access to online emotional support resources like ERG’s or a parenting Slack channel to create a positive, inclusive community to help each other.
Create engaging events for working parents and their kids to give them a break while creating a fun environment for the kids.
Open & Constant Communication 📣
- Communication is key for a smooth running and productive team. Without it, there’s chaos, especially for busy working parents with children at home. To ensure your parent employees have all the support and resources they need, help create a space of open communication.
- Partner with your ERG’s for parents and caregivers to have regular check-ins and emotional support at any time. Using Slack channels is another great tool to keep communication open among fellow employees and parents. Even simply sharing tips and tricks on how to keep the little ones entertained during a long day of calls can be incredibly valuable.
- If working parents are becoming overwhelmed or stressed, emphasize that this is a safe space and encourage them to communicate when and how they need help/support. All in all, communication will keep the entire team thriving and on the right track.
Support a Flexible Schedule 🗓
- Since every day can look different for busy working parents the best thing you can do to support them is providing options for a flexible schedule. Find out what times they need the most help and create ways to give them some breathing room (this is when kid-friendly events would help them out).
- Gather this information by sending out a survey to parents and asking when their kids are in school, when there is early dismissal time, and when their kids are home during the workday.
ERG’s for Parents & Caregivers 💙
- Help foster a sense of community where all parents and caregivers can come together and support one another. Encourage them to host regular events such as Q&A sessions or happy hours where parents can get/give advice from other parents and have a break.
- Ensure that parent-focused ERG’s offer a safe space where employees can share their experiences and their struggles with other parents in the group and lean on each other. By knowing that they are heard, acknowledged and that other people are in the same shoes they are, will allow them to be more productive and more seen in the workplace with all of the support.
Have a Parenting Slack Channel 📲
- Create a Slack channel community for open communication, emotional support, and crowdsource parenting knowledge. This form of communication is super convenient and easy as employees can send a message at any time to a group of like-minded people. This even works for a large, hybrid team. Chances are at least one other person will be online to talk at all times.
Some examples of what the Slack channel can be used for include:
- Share parenting tips & tricks
- Promote family-friendly events
- Chat with fellow parents
- Share kid-friendly recipes or craft ideas
- Sympathize with each other during challenging times
- Act as a support group for parents where everyone will offer a listening ear
Bring Your Kids to Work Day 💼
- Celebrate this special day on April 22! It is an educational program to introduce kids to the workplace and allow them to explore careers for their future. Encourage employees to bring their children into their calls and take them through their daily tasks for the day to spark the curious minds of young children.
- Find some ideas on how to run activities for this special day. Have employees show their kids what mommy or daddy do at work all day.
Here are some event ideas:
- Virtual onboarding for the kids - the kids get to meet their parents’ colleagues and the other kids who are participating in bring your kid to work day.
- Virtual workday bingo - have boxes on the bingo sheet say things like video call freezes, find a coffee cup, meet the boss, etc.
- Virtual scavenger hunt - during a video call meeting employees hide various objects in the background and the kids have to find them all.
- Create a Kids Club Slack Channel - give them a space to talk to other kids during the day and share their favourite parts of the day and answer questions like what they want to be when they grow up.
- AMA with executives - give kids the option to ask anything about the company or the jobs.
- Send out welcome kits - send out a kit to each kid that includes pens, notebooks, name tags, and/or any company merch.
Virtual Kid-Friendly Events 🎨
- With more kids at home more due to the pandemic, it can be challenging for working parents to work from home and entertain their kids. Sometimes parents just need to get through a conference call or meeting with no distractions. This is where kid-friendly virtual events can help!
- Create virtual events for the kids of your employees during busy times during the week to keep them busy while their parents work. If you have a large team with many working parents, it may even help to tailor the kid-friendly events for the different age groups.
Here are some ideas over a video platform:
- Virtual petting zoo - companies like Tiny Tails to You offer a virtual experience where kids can learn about and see many different animals.
- Virtual teaching lessons - bring in a teacher to teach the kids a new language like Chinese or a new skill like handwriting.
- Disney star cameo - Cameo is a great tool to get engaging messages for kids from their favourite Disney stars.
- Virtual summer camp - during the summer when kids are out of school, offer a fun virtual summer camp for kids of employees to keep them engaged during the day. You can even get internal employee volunteers to teach some of the summer camp activities like making friendship bracelets, cooking class, and sing camp songs.
Run Events for Parents & Kids ⚽️
- Create a series of events for your working parents to bring their kids along to. Not only will it help to give the parents a break, but it will also occupy the kids with engaging activities.
Here is a list of ideas for events for both parents and kids:
- Webinar series for back to school - this event can be broken down by age group
- Kits for the entire family - send out fun activity kits for the whole family to enjoy! For the summertime send out a smores kit or for the winter send out a card-making kit.
- Storytime for kids - create a video call where someone reads a story aloud to all the children (during pride month in June the Drag Queen Story Hour is a great option).
- Talent show - where kids and their parents can perform!
- Family cooking class - encourage a talented cook on the team to lead a kid-friendly cooking class that involves the whole family. It could be a delicious dessert or even a full meal for dinner.
- Family fitness challenge - With summer getting closer and the weather is getting warmer, take your entire family outdoors and get active. Run challenges for employees and their families such as walking/running 5km in a week or a daily fitness challenge with a new task each day (like 100 jumping jacks).