If you want the best version of employees, then it’s time to walk the walk, not just talk the talk. Have a workplace culture that encourages both parents to provide care. Moms in the office already had it tough- 82% of working moms cite barriers keeping them from leadership roles. 78% say they have to prove themselves more in the workplace. 42% of women worry motherhood will negatively impact their career trajectory or leave them unable to advance as quickly as peers. More than 70% of working mothers and fathers say women are penalized professionally for starting families. Almost three-quarters of moms — and more than 70% of women without children — say mothers are offered fewer opportunities to move up the ladder than childless women.
Make sure they’re aware of benefits available to help with their physical and mental challenges right now and support their needs. And respect boundaries- if an employee needs time after work hours to take care of their children, don’t ping and message them relentlessly. Give them space and time to connect. In the U.S., homebound employees are logging three hours more per day on the job than before city and state-wide lockdowns, according to data from NordVPN.
As a manager and coworker, it’s important to remember we are humans first. You’re probably not a certified therapist, but you are a leader. It’s essential to listen to what your employees, vendors, and colleagues are saying informally (such as through their tone of voice, body language, and casual conversation at the start of calls). The best leaders will recognize and empathize where each employee is and acknowledge the grief they’re experiencing in losing their ‘old normal.’ Most importantly, they won’t chastise employees for their grief, but coach them so that business goals can be accomplished and productivity can get back to an appropriate level.