Three small ways to support parents working from home

It can be tough to motivate and focus if you’re working from home. Keeping kids entertained at home makes it all the more difficult. Large companies, like Goldman Sachs, are offering extra childcare leave days, but even small businesses with more limited budgets are finding solutions to help out working parents during the pandemic. Here are three ideas from small companies to keep parents supported. 

  1. Crowdsource ideas. Sharing is caring, especially when it comes to brainstorming at-home childcare. 200 employees at the shipping company Transfix created a #Transfixparents channel on their Slack to share articles, ideas, research, and tools for more cohesive work-from-home parenting. It also serves as a place to seek advice on sharing parenting responsibilities and even just to rant when parents need to get it all out. 
  2. Make your own schedules. All kids are different. Maybe your child needs the most attention in the morning during feeding time or perhaps in the afternoon with their homework. Due to the ever-changing scheduling demands of full-time parenting, the Ellevate Network is allowing employees to choose their own work schedules, rather than locking them into a nine to five commitment. In this way, parents can choose when to work most effectively and when to break for snack time or an afternoon walk. The company moved recurring meetings during early mornings and evenings and even created Slack icons for parents to indicate they are with their kids and may have slower response times. The pandemic has really highlighted what a more flexible work from home future might look like. Allowing everyone, not just parents, to work when they are most productive and manage their own time is the way of the future for most companies.
  3. Offer low-cost meaningful perks. Shipstation, a shipping software company, recognized the value of simple timesaving resources to parents. They purchased DashPasse, a paid subscription to the DoorDash food-delivery service that waives delivery fees on takeout orders, for all their employees to help parents get dinners on the table and make room in their days for a smidge of free time. They also hosted events for employees’ children such as a virtual magic show, webinars, and virtual lunches with characters such as Elsa from the Disney animated movie Frozen.

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