Facing unprecedented school closures and increasing local and
state government mandates to remain at home, most organizations (73%) are
allowing employees to work in flexible shifts and/or blocks of time as needed
to accommodate childcare and other work from home (WFH) demands.
Data from the latest of the Institute for Corporate
Productivity’s (i4cp) ongoing research on COVID-19’s impact on employers also
found that employers are setting up channels to enable employees who are also
caregivers to connect with and support one another.
This latest survey, which polled 518 respondents—HR decision
makers from a mix of global, multinational, and U.S.-based organizations of all
sizes, looked at ways organizations are adapting to an environment in which
employees are forced to work from home, and also may have children, partners,
or others in need of attention and care.
The pressures of WFH alone present one set of challenges,
especially for those working from home for the first time. Added to that: many
parents are trying to balance their jobs while also acting as the home-school
teachers of their children.
In effect, they now have two fulltime jobs:
- Meeting continuously changing work demands that are
critical to business continuity and sustaining their organizations AND
- Managing children who are trying to continue their
educations at home and are also dealing with the emotional fallout of the
abrupt separation from their routines, friends, and activities—especially
springtime and end of the school-year activities that are loaded with
In addition to crowded homes, dueling needs for access to
technology and Internet is creating another strain on many households.
Because corporate childcare centers (or organizing play or
study dates) are not viable options at this point with recommendations that gatherings
of any size with others who are not immediate members of one’s household should be avoided, flexibility around work hours is clearly
the number-one strategy for most companies.
As part of this practice, organizations are providing their
workforces with a steady flow of resources and communication about how to work
from home, and how to work from home with kids, etc. as well as updated
information about staying healthy.
Others are distributing surplus corporate computers to
employees or offering stipends to help employees purchase home office
equipment—this will be a huge help to workers who have inadequate or no technology
or other needed equipment at home.
Beyond the increased opportunities for flexibility, 11% say
their organizations have established communication channels for caregiver
employees to support one another, with smaller percentages offering stipends to
pay for childcare or eldercare or additional paid time off. Another practice is
reminding employees of benefits available to them and encouraging the use of EAP
Download the full survey results – due to the global
health and productivity crisis affecting everyone, i4cp is making all related
ongoing research publicly available.
We also encourage you to visit
i4cp.com/coronavirus for other employer resources including discussion forums,
next practices, useful resources, and more.