Listening & Taking Action – Supporting our Working Parents through COVID-19
As the school year approaches, working parents are experiencing an added layer of anxiety as some parents are balancing three full-time roles – parent, professional and teacher. DHG recognized that nearly 40% of its workforce faced unprecedented childcare challenges and agilely created a menu of life-work solutions to help each and every DHG team member succeed.
We believe that open, honest, transparent conversation really builds empathy and awareness, so we began our journey with a My Experience session in which parents provided a glimpse into their world amidst life in COVID-19. This experience truly enlightened colleagues without children so they could better understand what it is like to be a professional parent during COVID-19.
During the live-stream session encouraged for all DHG employees to attend, a panel of five working parents, all in different parenting seasons, shared their experiences, challenges and “best practices.” One of the panelists explained it perfectly, “We are all in the same storm but in different boats.”
Here are five pieces of advice that bubbled up from the session. While this advice was originally targeted to working parents, it is applicable to all – everyone is weathering the same storm right now.
Think about the big picture: Adjust the expectations of yourself and your family. More screen time over the next few months, likely won’t have a big picture impact on your child’s development. Nearly every aspect of the world has changed, so adjust your expectations and focus on the big picture to avoid fretting the small stuff.
Find your village: The saying is true that it “takes a village to raise a child.” Just as it takes a team at work to get the job done, it takes a team at home, too. Find people that support you and use your village to help. If resources allow, find your village to delegate the “to-do” list items that are weighing you down.
Over-Communicate: Communication is essential to success, both at home and work. Over-communicate to your team when you know you have to prioritize childcare responsibilities and vice versa when you need to prioritize work. One tip shared was to add important meetings to your spouse’s or partner’s calendar so everyone is aware of when help will be needed.
Carve out time for yourself: This may seem impossible at times, but find time for yourself every day, even if only for a few minutes. Don’t skip your meals, drink enough water and do something just for yourself every day – a workout, drinking your coffee in peace, cooking – find something for you.
Practice grace: Over and over again, grace was mentioned in the session. Practice grace to yourself and others during this time. Everyone is navigating uncharted waters and, while the journeys may be in different boats, everyone is experiencing bumpy waters. Be kind and empathetic.