Working parents are being hit hard. They are managing their team at home and their team at work — all at once. Here are our best tips for supporting them:
Be flexible with hours. Help them work around their family, now that home is both an office and a makeshift playground. Tell them that it’s OK to make up time early in the AM, at night or on the weekends.
Move to deadline-based work, as much as possible, versus facetime expectations.
Rethink meetings. Meetings are hardest for parents balancing kids at home. Take a look at yours. Do they all need to happen? Can they happen less often? For less time? With fewer people?
Normalize kid meeting-bombing. Disarm your team from feeling awkward that they’re working with their family in the near vicinity. Kids will bust in; dogs will bark . . . Assure them it’s OK, and no one will be fired for this. Chime in with something like, “I can’t wait to see everyone’s dogs and hobbies.”
Acknowledge them. Tell your working parents how amazing they are for working two full-time jobs right now. They will most likely feel like they are failing at both.
Remove team housekeeping from their overflowing plates. Can you get folks without kids to handle things like sending out notes after meetings, doing initial rounds of interviews, or mentoring?
Above all, help them prioritize their work. What is the most important thing for them to get done during this time? Make sure they know what they should focus on first in case their days get derailed.
If you are an individual contributor, forward this email to your manager. They want to help, but might not know how.