How to Support Employees Managing Work and Caregiving

Thursday, September 17, 2020

By Evelyn Lora-Santos, Campus Director, Advising 

Being able to provide flexibility in the workplace stems from the perspective that staff are people first. This concept is especially important to apply during this pandemic as many employees try to perform job functions at home while simultaneously caring for young children, assisting with schooling or even caring for elderly parents.

To assist supervisors who may be eager to learn how to best support employees during this challenging time, I compiled the following list of tips and ideas:

  • Develop a relationship of trust with employees so as to create an environment that makes them feel they can express the challenges of being a caregiver to you;
  • In this environment, we need to be aware of the pressures that come along with balancing home and work during the pandemic. The pandemic did not allow for the planning and coordination of childcare or other care. Express empathy and understanding;
  • Understand the special needs of employees with elderly parents, who often are primary caregivers. The elderly are a high-risk population for COVID-19, which in itself may add to the emotional stress of employees;
  • Being in a remote environment allows for the adjustment of work schedules. Conducting regular check-ins with staff is important to ensure that work schedules are feasible. Supervisors can, in many cases, make necessary adjustments to work schedules that provide appropriate support to employees;
  • Remind employees of the available Employee Assistant Program (EAP) resources, self-care, yoga and mindfulness sessions, among others, offered at the institution and encourage participation;
  • Discuss personal and professional wellness and work-life balance during team meetings;
  • Create work schedules with sufficient notice so that employees can make necessary changes to their schedule that allow for personal commitments;
  • Support employees if they have to take leave with little notice due to unforeseen challenges or emergencies; and
  • Encourage employees to use leave when necessary. Employees sometimes internally struggle with having to take time off, but as supervisors, we often need to remind staff to take care of themselves and their families.

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