So, we know now that schools will close. The uncertainty on that decision is over but what about the dilemmas that parents now face about the supervision, care and education of their children. How they will balance this with the demands of work? What other support may have to be put in place, if they are unable to rely upon grandparents and other family members who may be vulnerable?
As an employer you are now faced with the next set of decisions, how to cope with parents in your workplace? There are so many demands on businesses trying to work out the best way forward, that to have people at home being paid but not being productive is not sustainable; to have parents being distracted by these very real and difficult circumstances is not helpful to them or you.
Over the last couple of days, we have been talking to clients and setting out options available to you:
• Are there people in your team who would prefer and are able to be in your workplace?
• Is there alternative work that can be done, especially if you have had to shut down part of your operation?
• Could you put a shift type system in place? One week at home and one week working in the workplace?
• Are there team members who can work from home, perhaps not on their existing terms and conditions but those could be modified for a temporary period of time?
• Are there team members who can not work from home or come to your workplace? Could you offer these team members unpaid leave, annual leave or a combination of both?
• Would some or all these measures “dilute” the contact distances and opportunities whilst providing a way of working that takes into account personal circumstances?
These strategies and others are all feasible, but they rely on communication and consultation with your team. By being proactive you will keep them engaged and feeling positive. You will also be legally compliant.
So, we are going to have to come up with strategies that will support working parents between now and when schools resume and that could be after the summer holidays, my personal conjecture. It would be best for you, your business and team to make that happen in an ethical, compliant and sustainable fashion.
If you are facing the challenges of managing your team working at home and in particular those who are now going to be managing childcare and education, and would like to discuss your options please call us on 0131 225 7458 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.