Parents are hurting. We are navigating the beginning of a school year, season two of COVID, plus a steady dose of anxiety and fear. Many of us moved or changed jobs and feel the weight of change on our family.
Parents around us are grappling with how to lead children who may be behind, anxious, isolated, and ill. As a company, this is as good a time as any to be for parents.
My friend Jeff Henderson has thought extensively about what it means to be a company that is FOR others, and how being for others is good for business.
Here’s a few ways you can be FOR the parents you work with
Protect their days off. Be vigilant about giving them days to rest and ignore their inbox. Don’t bug them on Saturdays. Family time matters more than ever for them and their kids.
But don’t just give them less. Don’t un-invite them because they’re busy. Parents still want to contribute, especially by doing what they love. Ask what’s draining them at work and see what you can do to lift that load (it may not be what you expect).
Extend benefits (or remind them of benefits that already exist) for mental and physical health.
Be flexible. If you don’t know how to be flexible, ask them what flexibility would help. Perhaps working from home or changing some work hours would give them reprieve. Give them a break if their kid is still on their zoom screen.
Celebrate them. Have a back to school lunch (they probably don’t want more PB&J), designate parent parking spots, write thank you notes, or look for moments to cheer on social media or in person.
Ask them how they are doing today. Their emotional reservoir and mental bandwidth will fluctuate. If you asked once, ask again.
You may not be able to lift all of this burden for them, but you can be with them. You can communicate you care about what happens outside of work. Doing so is more than just good for people, it’s good for business.