During this time of uncertainty, previous arrangements to care for children or an aging parent are may no longer be available due to the closing of schools, daycares, recreation centers, and senior centers, as well as in-home attendants who maybe not be able to work. The unknown timelines connected to the pandemic also make the financial future of organizations less predictable, forcing organizations to take a closer look at how they are managing their finances.
Your ability to develop and set new direction quickly during a pandemic is crucial to instill confidence in your leadership team by your employees.
During uncertainty, employees look to their leaders to provide clear guidance on the unforeseen obstacles that may impact their life at work. This includes being able to navigate and support disruptions to dependent care services that may interrupt employee ability to get work done as they normally would under business-as-usual circumstances.
As senior leaders you must develop and communicate policy and plans for coverage that describes the level of support available to employees while trying to juggle personal needs with that of work commitments. It also should detail revised expectations of performance, responsibilities, attendance, etc., that will help ensure business continuity.
When trying to balance employee personal commitments like child/elder care, you should first execute on the high-level coverage plans that have been set by senior leadership and their working group of key managers. Temporary pandemic coverage levels are set based on available data relating to essential vs. non-essential functions, current coverage needs, skill inventories, and productivity measures, where available.
Depending on the duration of pandemic measures and length of time employees may need to integrate caring for dependents with work, there may be instances where the established coverage plans do not work for them.
In this scenario it is important to work with the employee to identify if there are flexible work arrangements that can be put in place at the individual level that will help them continue to work productively while juggling other personal priorities. After a brief period of working under a temporary alternate work measure, it’s important to revisit it to ensure it is meeting the needs of both the operation and the employee.