You are a leader who wants people to feel supported, be content, and productive, right? Then read on!
-Fall is coming and it brings major anxiety (to the already exhausted people).
-School no school? In-person, remote? How many days?... We continue to WFH. Will my employer support me? Will my boss be patient and understanding of my situation? Can this affect my career prospects?
There are a lot of questions and not a lot of answers.
This is what the employees want but may be afraid to ask…
(This data is the result of my interactions with actual people and some extended analysis of this information.)
Take this into account and you’ll show up as an effective leader and ensure loyalty.
- No micromanaging!
Reasonable expectations with regards to response time to your inquiries (they may be dealing with some learning issues at the same time)
Support in finding childcare that has proven policies with regards to health risk management. NB. If you offer subsidized childcare, check that your people are actually able to get a spot there. I was never able to find a spot at the company-sponsored childcare when I needed one. This discounts the benefit that you offer to your people and becomes an undue expense for your organization. You're paying for it, make sure it really works.
- A bonus point would be if you appoint a childcare coordinator/consultant inside your organization who would advise and support working parents in navigating finding childcare so that they could focus on their job.
Reduced hours (without reduced pay).
Officially allow a certain number of hours a day for homeschooling/caregiving (people will make it up after hours, as they have done). If employees feel safe to block these hours on their calendar, this will give them (and others around them) clarity and peace of mind.
- And most importantly, ask your employees what support they need. Ask as open-ended questions (what, why, how… e.g. What would support you the most comes the fall? What concerns do you have?) rather than a yes/no question (e.g. Do you need any support?). This way you are likely to get a real conversation and answers.
Your employees will appreciate your genuine concern and their engagement, creativity and innovation will go through the roof.
It's a two-way street
The employees working from home (and in particular those with kids and other caregiving responsibilities) feel scrutinized now.
But there is scrutiny going the other way too. Your people are feeling how the organization is approaching this situation. This can be a pivotal point when you build deep trust, earn long-term loyalty from your people, or bring irreparable damage to your relationship, which means you will lose talent.
In tough times (and always), we all should behave at our best to increase the probability of success.
If you want to strategize how to approach it in your organization/team specifically, book a strategy session with me. I’d be happy to help out!
Sveta Parilova is a career and leadership coach who partners up with mid-career professionals to help them get rekindled and renewed about their work/career so that they feel less stressed and more joyful at work and at home. She is passionate about supporting people in their search for purpose and meaning in their work and life and is humbled and honored to be part of their journey to a more joyful self. Click here to schedule a Complimentary Discovery Session and learn more!