Working through the pandemic, in general, has been tough, but that can ring especially true for anybody who is also a parent. Whether they’ve got toddlers or even college students, the pandemic has pushed many children back into their homes for school – the only problem is that many parents are also working remotely from their homes.
Blending work and family can be tough and the pandemic has only seemed to make things even more difficult, which is why it’s important to be more understanding as a manager. Regardless of the deadlines that need to be met, you always have to manage your team as if you were in their shoes!
This article is going to look at why some parents are having such a tough time working through the pandemic, as well as what you can do as a manager to make their lives easier.
Working Parents During the Pandemic
Parents were faced with many challenges while working before the pandemic, only now it has brought most of them to a point where they’re working among screaming children and hungry teenagers. Understanding that there may be some “bumps in the road” is enough in some cases, but others may call for additional support in alternative ways.
Parents are being put under a lot of pressure because they have to remain present in their children’s lives during a pandemic, but also provide employers with the productivity they’re being paid for. If a team member feels like they’re letting down an employer due to what I like to call “pandemic pressure”, you have to know to be understanding and support them as a manager.
What You Can Do as a Manager
As I said before, putting yourself in their shoes is the best approach (or at least that’s what I’ve found the most effective in the past). We didn’t all start as managers and we’ve more than likely been in a scenario where we felt an extensive amount of pressure in the workplace, so just think back to those times!
Support means a lot more than you may think, and you might be surprised to see how well-received it is by your team members.
Understand the Specific Challenges That Each Parent Faces
You cannot group parents and assume that they’re all going to face the same problems. If you’re a parent yourself, you already know that isn’t the case. We all come from different walks of life and our family situations will vary as a result. You can’t expect them to handle their situations as you would with your child, and you certainly can’t assume that they’re making stuff up.
Regardless of what industry you’re working in, if you don’t have children, you sort of have to give employees the benefit of a doubt.
Encourage Honesty in the Workplace
By encouraging honest and offering an open line of communication, your employees will feel much more comfortable sharing their parenting experiences with you. Business deadlines are important to meet for both managers and team members, and by staying honest, you can potentially work with them on issues impacting their productivity.
Feedback is also important so that you can look at your approach and improve it whenever possible. Managers aren’t always perfect, and if there’s a way to improve your management style (that the team members can think of), be sure to ask! Don’t be sensitive about what they say, and just know that it’s what’s best for the company.
Set Detailed Goals and Expectations
While you may think that this is putting too much pressure on them, this is merely letting team members know what you expect out of them in the coming weeks. Overburdened parents enjoy having a defined goal to work towards, as opposed to just working with no end in sight!
Bring Positivity to the Table!
Remaining positive and trying to spread your energy throughout the workplace can be very effective when dealing with working parents. Their minds are likely racing at a mile a minute even while working because their kids are in the other room learning 2nd-grade math on a laptop.
Whether it’s bonuses, rewards for reaching milestones, or just general silliness that allows employees to let loose, providing positive to the work environment is a must for any successful manager. Working parents like to kick back and relax too, they just don’t have a lot of time to do it!
Become a Better Manager Today
Your managerial approach to dealing with working parents doesn’t need to be perfect, but you need to at least understand where they are coming from. Many managers that don’t have children look at working parents as “excuse using” sometimes, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.
If you want to become a better manager or business owner in general, then you need to know that working parents truly are under much more pressure now than they ever were before. If you can do something to ease said pressure without impacting productivity, you might just deserve an award!