Looking back, life before the COVID-19 pandemic was more straightforward. Fast forward more than 20 months, and while many employees are returning to in-person work, a vast majority are still working from home. A big issue that the pandemic has raised is what happens to work-from-home employees and childcare requirements?
Pre-COVID 19 Work From Home and Childcare Requirements
Before COVID, many companies had strict work-from-home policies that prohibited employees from working from home without separate childcare for young children. Employers typically enforced this policy, who understood that caring for young children is a full-time job in itself.
Pandemic Work From Home and Childcare Requirements
When the pandemic hit, employers had no choice but to be more flexible about childcare requirements. However, both schools and daycares were closed in many areas, leaving few alternatives for parents working from home. In addition, even while most schools now remain open, some parents choose to homeschool or keep their kids home due to the risks associated with the pandemic. Employers must accommodate issues such as these because the alternative would leave even more people leaving the workforce and unemployed.
However, once we have reached herd immunity and enter into the post-pandemic phase, it makes sense that employers return to previous childcare expectations. After all, I think the last 20 months have proven to both employers and employees that it is impossible to care for small children while working full-time.
How to Prepare for Post Pandemic Work From Home and Childcare Requirements
It’s best to give employees sufficient notice that once we enter the post-pandemic phase, employees will no longer be permitted to be the primary caregiver for children under the age of 10 while on the clock and working from home. Therefore, you should tell employees as soon as possible so they can have enough warning to get on necessary childcare waiting lists and make other accommodations.
Employers should also consider letting employees know that while they’ve been lenient during the pandemic, it’s essential to return to pre-pandemic employer work expectations. During the pandemic, employees who do not have young children at home and are committed to meeting deadlines have become increasingly frustrated with employers turning a blind eye to parents working from home with young children but failing to meet deadlines and produce satisfactory work.
Employees frustrated with going back to pre-pandemic work from home and childcare accommodations need to understand that employers are not trying to manage their households. Instead, employers are simply laying the foundation for how employees can successfully manage their jobs.
Read about more work-from-home childcare options.
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