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Leaders Guide for Supporting Employees who are Balancing Home-schooling with Working From Home

Post date: 
25 August 2020
Category: 
Leadership Development

Many organisations are supporting a cohort of remote working employees who are juggling work commitments while also having to manage children and home-schooling. This is particularly the case for people located in Victoria at the moment as well as across many other locations.

Here are some ways that you can provide your team with additional support as they return to having to balance home-schooling with work:

Focus on output, rather than hours worked

Be clear on what is required from each employee and the team; priorities and key deliverables, not hours worked, is what is best to be considered. It is important to review with each person what their individual needs are to help support them and their families during these challenging times which may include potential variations to the way people who are having to home school carry out their work such as altering working hours, flexible start/finish times, allowing part-time workers to split their hours over more days, reducing working hours or altering an employee’s responsibilities.

Be flexible with meetings and catch-up times

Some of your regular meeting times may be in conflict with your team member’s child’s school schedule. Check with them if these times still suit and be flexible where possible. You may not be able to reschedule a regular team meeting; however, you may be able to schedule a separate time to update those team members who were unable to attend due to home-schooling commitments.

Be realistic about your expectations of employees and what the organisation can achieve during this period

It is important to be realistic about what can be achieved during this challenging period as people are having to spend at times, a large proportion of their day home-schooling their children. Acknowledging that your team members, who are currently home-schooling their children whilst also working from home, may not be able to sustain their usual level of output will help alleviate unrealistic expectations.  As a line manager, it is important for you to discuss with your team members what you both think can be realistically achieved to continue meeting the needs of the organisation while taking care of their child or children.

Adjust priorities and reset timelines

Continue to adjust and refine as you go. There are certainly some tasks that need to be accomplished by a set date. Be open with your team, readjust workloads and delegate tasks to enable completion. Prioritisation of the work will be paramount during these times.

Good communication is key

There continues to be a lot of uncertainty for everyone as the pandemic continues to evolve. Transparent and regular communication with your team members is crucial and can help minimise additional anxiety and resolve problems as they arise. Have an open discussion with your employees, explaining that their wellbeing is of utmost importance and that you can work together as a team to prioritise and allocate work which at times, may require review. It is really important to ensure that the lines between home and work don’t become less clear or that people are feeling that they need to work an unhealthy amount of hours to achieve both their home-schooling and work responsibilities. This is why regular and transparent communication and check-ins with your team will be useful.

Your team members wellbeing is paramount

We are all operating in challenging times, and some people cope better than others. As a line manager, it is important to monitor the wellbeing of your employees. Encourage your team members to practise self-care and take leave if they need some time out to switch off and focus on their family. 

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