The gradual return to school as countries emerge from lockdowns is a welcome step back to normality. School children have lost many weeks of face-to-face schooling, and a year of socialising with their peers, which is vital for developing their social skills. So as children pack their school bags and prepare to head back to school after the Easter break, there may be a spring in their step, however the return to school could present challenges for many of their working parents.
Even though the number of adults who have received Covid vaccinations continues to rise, working from home is still advised for those with jobs that can be carried out effectively by remote working. Having young children in the house or apartment whilst trying to conduct business zoom calls, has not been ideal for many, so with children at school, home working is likely to be easier and less stressful.
Be mindful about workplace stress
Whilst agile and remote working is here to stay, and will change the way that businesses and employees function, it is to be expected that many large companies will encourage a strategic return to the office, as long as strict covid safe rules are adhered to. As many corporations have decided to shed significant amounts of city centre office space, the working week will probably consist of two or three days in the office, with the remainder working from home.
Agile working will promote a better work-life balance; however, workplace stresses are likely to increase for those parents juggling the challenges of a return to office based work with the challenges arising from their children being back at school. The return to commuting and rebuilding working relationships and team work will not be easy for those who have spent the last year working from home. If a child is ill, or has to quarantine because they have tested positive, or are part of a year group with a covid positive child, this will cause many problems for the parent who is trying to spend more time at the office.
Use video chat tools to keep in touch
It is parents who work away or travel for work that will be find a return to school particularly challenging. You can click here for some helpful tips about how to keep in contact with school age children whilst travelling for work.
Lockdowns have curtailed family visits to relatives, so it will have been at least a year since grandparents and other relatives have been visited. This has been difficult for many young children who have missed “seeing Granny” or had birthdays without the usual family guests.
Fortunately, families have learnt to exploit the powers of messaging and video apps like Facetime and Zoom for keeping in touch, and people, young and old, have become adept at virtual conversations, games and even drink parties. Familiarity with this technology is allowing families to keep in touch, even without physical proximity, so if a parent must work away from home for a period of time, they and their children are used to virtual conversations.
Exploit the Internet for food and clothes shopping
It would be interesting to know how many parents have rushed out to the supermarket during their lunch breaks, whilst working from home. Clothes shops have been closed during the lockdowns so parents have relied on the internet to buy clothes, cheap energy deals and almost everything else online.
We have all become more adept at Internet shopping and discovered new online retailers such as these zelda merch tee shirts that can be delivered to home whilst the parent is at work. Supermarket deliveries have experienced huge growth during the and major supermarkets have responded by increasing their delivery slots and warehouse and packing facilities to cope with demand.
The experience of buying the weekly food shop online has greatly improved and is now becoming a viable option for busy working parents who have usually bought their shopping in person from their favourite supermarket. Time spent at the supermarket may be better spent with the family, particularly if parents are spending more time in the office.
Children’s’ education has suffered greatly during the , so it is a very positive step for them to return to school and benefit from face-to-face lessons and social interactivity again. This may increase the toll on the working parents, however, who must be mindful of the impact of workplace stress and who must find ways in which to stay in touch with their families when away.
There are also significant opportunities for busy parents to use the Internet for their shopping. The has seen many large retailers improve their e-commerce and delivery capabilities, as demand has surged, and this will be of significant help to the parent who is trying to juggle family responsibilities with work pressures.