The pandemic might just bring about a positive change in working patterns for working families, writes Han Son Lee, founder of Daddilife
What do we usually think of as a landmark for September? Back to school? The end of summer holidays where we’re likely to be ‘staycationing’ and camping with the kids more than ever?
After an unprecedented last six months, families are approaching a new normal, but as we’ve seen, working patterns and family patterns have changed considerably over the last few months. It is time to work out how can we use the start of a 'new normal' in September to affect the real positive change in working patterns that’s really needed for so many working families.
So what are some of the key questions that employers and employees need to be asking now to help shape the future of work and make September 2020 a turning point for the better?
Are the parents 'returning' to work really the same ones who left?
Remember that time where you went into the office, grabbed a coffee, and saw banks of desks with people in them that you could walk up to and talk with?
As some workplaces have started to see smaller cohorts of people go back to their offices, we need employers to be ready for the simple fact that many of the working parents coming back into offices are different people to those who left hurriedly at the start of lockdown.
Time for dads and their children in particular has been an unexpected blessing and perhaps the reset that many dads needed. During lockdown, we asked dads how parenting had changed for them since March. The results of our dads in lockdown survey showed that 76% of dads had become more involved in day to day parenting in lockdown, while 25% were actively considering more flexible working and 16% looking for a new job altogether post lockdown.
Many dads have realised during lockdown that they want more flexibility and options for home working so that they can maintain a better work life balance than they had before.
Where and how are we most productive?
Where lockdown has given us pause for reflection on work and family balance, it should have also created another thought – about where exactly we are at our best.
For all the testing and challenging times Covid-19 has presented us with, there have also been moments of real inspiration – of people coming together or finding new ways to get even better results.
In this new balance, we need employers’ eyes to be open to a new working formula that will extract the very best from their people. The office will be that place for some, but not all.
How we’re assessing real innovation, results and performance should not be done ‘the way it’s always been done around here’ any more.
Can we talk about the big 'H' now?
Homeschooling. Where to start. It’s been hard, hasn’t it?
With news that school bubbles are still going to be in effect in some form come September, the pressures that faced working parents won’t magically all go away in September. While it may not be as intense, any threat of a second wave, or prolonged use of bubbles and other forms of social distancing will have a severe and significant impact on working parents time, productivity, and above all -their mental health.
It’s vital that employers are as in tune with that as their working parent populations, otherwise we will see September be the start of another house of cards ready to fall, rather than new foundations from which to build the future of work from.