In-person or hybrid? Another new start date? Can I really be a parent, teacher and employee from home?
The pending school semester has thrown Kansas City companies into an uncertain deep end. And employees with kids? They’re desperately trying to be both super parent and super worker, even though wearing both capes quickly becomes a heavy load.
It’s clearly time to get creative, but what’s the right move? We’re starting to see local businesses and employees come up with a number of solutions to make this unprecedented time a little easier for everyone.
Part-time may prove to be the solution
This past spring demonstrated the limitations of our energy and patience trying to split our time between remote work and child care. Now, with no end in sight, parents are bracing for another long slog this fall.
With so many schools moving to remote learning – or a hybrid approach with kids on-site every other week (or on alternating days) – parents are faced with tough decisions. The benefits company Cleo recently surveyed parents about the top challenges on their minds, including:
- Health risks for themselves or their families (55%)
- Burnout from managing work and home (57%)
- Securing child care (53%)
As a result, we’re starting to see more and more employees leave their jobs and look for part-time (instead of full-time) alternatives. But how are companies adjusting to this seismic shift to their human resources?
Creative companies turn to contract employees
Successful businesses are quickly learning they must be nimble if they hope to adapt. And we’re indeed seeing many of our Kansas City clients implement a number of solutions to help working parents, including flexible schedules, condensed workweeks, job sharing—even allowing employees to shift from full-time to part-time without damaging the career ladder. And I think everyone realizes remote working may become a permanent option moving forward.
The work, however, still needs to get done. And with many companies also dealing with hiring freezes and budget constraints, some are turning to temporary workers and contract employees to fill that void. Joanna Daly, vice president of HR for IBM, told USA Today why these creative solutions are so necessary:
“In the spring, we hoped this would be a sprint, but it is becoming clearer this is looking like a triathlon. We really don’t want our employees to be burnt out, so part of this is to listen to what employees are needing and being prepared to respond in real-time.’’
We recently worked with an HR manager at a local company who needed to cut back her hours in the office so she could assist her children with remote learning. The move is allowing her to keep working while also providing her kids with the attention they need. To support her move, her employer hired a temporary HR professional to help fill in three days a week. The company is satisfied because the work is still getting done, and the HR manager is now able to juggle work and home without neglecting either.
Flexible companies will win in the long term
So, where do you start? Like so many of our experiences with COVID-19, it begins with learning the first steps to a successful adjustment. Start by consulting with local staffing experts to hear firsthand what the Kansas City job market is doing. Brainstorm solutions with your in-house teams and your staffing partners to come up with the best approach for your specific industry.
If you’re a local business, these partners can help you find creative ways to both support your current employees while still completing the work. If you’re an employee struggling to juggle everything thrown your way, you can learn the best ways to approach the conversation with your manager, and what solutions you can bring to the table that benefit everyone.
While change is often painful in the short term, a study by Perceptyx found the payoff is likely worth it: For employees who believe their employer is providing the support and flexibility they need to balance a career with child care, a staggering 92% say they plan to stay in their current role for at least the next 12 months.
With so much of the fall still up in the air, it looks like temporary and contract workers may be one of the most stable solutions you can count on. And right now, we can all be grateful for that.
Kat Allen is a recruiting manager for the Human Resources division at Morgan Hunter, serving Kansas City-area employers to help them meet a range of hiring needs, from temporary staffing to direct-hire placements. Share your thoughts on Facebook, LinkedIn or on Twitter @MorganHunterCo.