Employees at breaking point?

There are plenty of articles in the media talking about women bearing the brunt of childcare and home schooling while juggling working from home.  Some have taken precious holiday to cope, many will be taking unpaid leave, but how long can they afford to do that for? Some have had to give up work or be furloughed without a guarantee of a career at the end. 

How long can this last for before your business is affected long-term?

In this changing landscape, organisations continue to build out their go-forward strategy as information and guidelines are issued and clarified.

An employer’s duty of care, for physical and mental wellbeing, remains in place regardless of where your employees are working.

Whilst the move to lockdown meant that organisation and their employees had to move quickly in to a ‘needs must’ and ‘best you can do’ mode, the short-term focus now must be to create a sustainable and productive environment, especially for ‘core employees’. If organisations can’t do this, there will have to be an acceptance by employers that their expectations around productivity are reduced and that this is communicated to employees.

Some core employees may need to get back into the office to be able to effectively perform and in this case, what is the biggest hurdle to them being able to do that?

For other core employees, the actual location of where the work is being done maybe immaterial, so what is the biggest challenge to overcome to enable them to work efficiently and productively?

The common denominator is having children at home rather than either being at school or being looked after by their normal childcare arrangements.

The pressures and demands created by having children at home and trying to work, entertain and school them, are also likely to have the greatest negative impact on employee wellbeing at this time.

Long term effects

Those employees who seem to be managing to perform at the old level may well be doing so at the detriment of their physical and mental wellbeing - which will either not be sustainable or may result in serious health issues manifesting further down the line.

By providing support in sourcing childcare that can be provided in your employee’s home, you can effectively support your core employees. This is in line with recent government guidelines confirming that paid childcare providers can travel to, and perform, their childcare responsibilities in the employer’s home.

This may not be something your organisation has considered before, but now it might be the right time to do so. Take a moment to think of the current financial impact of the reduced productivity and look at the cost to the business long-term as a result of absenteeism, presenteeism and then add replacement recruitment and training costs.

Whilst money drives many business decisions, your organisation’s culture and image have huge intangible costs and benefits.

Great employers retain and attract top talent, as well as make a difference to the lives and wellbeing of their employees, especially in difficult times. They do so via their leaders.

Leadership amongst many other things is about caring, understanding, supporting and protecting – a natural and moral duty of care that needs to work in conjunction with the more formal HR duty of care carefully documented in the employee handbook.

One of the many challenges that leaders will be facing now is gauging how well the team are really bearing up physically and psychologically. For fear of either feeling or being perceived as weak or being an imposition, most people find it extremely hard to ask for help or admit that they are not coping until it is too late.

Seven weeks in, and no real end in sight with regards to children going back to school or pre-Coronavirus childcare arrangements resuming, there will be parents at breaking point and sadly some will have already past that point.

You can help!

Parental Choice has a bank of temporary nannies and teaching assistants who are available to work on a short-term basis in your employees’ homes, either to allow them to return to work, or to relieve the pressure while they are working from home.

For a one-off fee for three months, Parental Choice can help you make the difference.

To see how you can help get in touch with Christiana Powell. 

c.powell@parentalchoice.co.uk  
020 8979 6453  www.parentalchoice.co.uk

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