While the pandemic’s impact on parents and children continues to unfold, companies are stepping up to fill new needs. Get introduced to some of the creative ways businesses have supported families.
It’s no secret the COVID-19 global pandemic has hurt working families across the U.S. There are myriad lingering challenges parents juggle from remote schooling to changing in-person work policies. Job stability is uncertain and accessing quality pregnancy and infant medical care can be difficult. A recent survey revealed that 20% of parents are considering leaving the workforce due to the impact of COVID-19. The same survey also found that more than half of families are without childcare.
While federal lawmakers fight for paid family leave, employers are getting creative in order to keep parents—and especially mothers—in the workforce. Today, a number of leading companies are supporting employees and their families in new ways. With a still uncertain outlook, employees and communities are relying on businesses in the absence of policy change and government aid.
Here are a few ways companies are supporting their employees’ families and other families in their communities:
Supporting Employees at Home
1. Accenture provided backup childcare benefits to busy employees.
Overseeing virtual learning is challenging even for the most tech-savvy parents. To support parents during the ongoing pandemic, consulting and tech firm Accenture partnered with Bright Horizons, the national childcare provider, to offer employees backup childcare benefits, including access to small-group, part-time school day supervision at a subsidized cost.
2. Patagonia gave employees the flexible schedules needed for care.
Beyond onsite childcare, generous parental leave policies, and other impressive perks, Patagonia championed parents one step further by embracing flexible scheduling as a result of their employee survey asking what employees really needed after their childcare centers temporarily closed in March 2020. One solution involved offering parents more asynchronous work, such as switching to long-term projects if their personal responsibilities were more time-sensitive.
3. Google paused on performance reviews.
Many employees faced with the challenges of juggling work and parenting responsibilities are concerned that this balancing act will lead to poor performance reviews. In a recent survey of Google employees who are parents, many indicated their anxiety around the upcoming performance review period and expressed their concern about receiving less than positive assessments after needing to juggle work and parenting responsibilities. As a result, Google suspended performance reviews and decided to reinstate them once parents had more time to find balance in their new day-to-day routines.
Supporting Families in the Community
4. Verizon closes the digital divide for students.
Millions of students nationwide lack access to the technology and digital skills they need to succeed. That’s why Verizon collaborates with the nonprofit Digital Promise to equip each student and teacher at select secondary schools with a device and data plan. Verizon also provides mobile hotspots to give families more reliable home internet access. Further, the schools receive teacher training, support, and the opportunity to teach a technology-enabled curriculum.
5. Gopuff supports Boys & Girls Clubs with a social media campaign.
Boys & Girls Clubs are addressing the prolonged effects of COVID-19 on youth safety and well-being, learning loss, and equity. Meanwhile, they are also tackling urgent needs like food security, childcare, and virtual programming. Thankfully, they had support from generous companies like the delivery app Gopuff. The Gopuff Go Back + Give Back initiative pledged $1 million in matching donations to the Boys & Girls Clubs COVID-19 Relief Fund. The delivery app also invited consumers to share a childhood photo in Gopuff’s #GoBackGiveBack Challenge on Instagram. Every photo shared using the hashtag unlocked a $5 donation to local Boys & Girls Clubs across the U.S.
6. Google.org invests in The Trevor Project’s mental health support.
More than 1.8 million LGBTQ+ youth in the U.S. seriously consider suicide each year. COVID-19 has exacerbated the already serious implications for the mental health of LGBTQ+ youth. The Trevor Project provides crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to LGBTQ+ youth. Youth have made almost twice as many requests for support since the start of the pandemic. Google.org stepped up with a significant $2.7 million gift for The Trevor Project. Furthermore, a team of Google.org Fellows is helping to scale the crisis group’s impact using artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning. Recently, they co-created a counselor training tool using AI to simulate conversations with LGBTQ+ youth in crisis. It will help counselors focus on high-risk youth and reach more people.
Families need our help now more than ever. About 41% of U.S. employees between the ages of 20 and 54 have a child at home. With so many employees balancing both work and childcare, companies undoubtedly feel the particular strain the pandemic has put on families. A plan to better support and retain employees facing these strains can help fill in the gaps of much needed support that is lacking, as well as drive long-term business success. It’s never been more clear or urgent that businesses invest in their parent workforces and community nonprofits serving families. The world is taking note of the corporate leaders that give families the support they deserve.
Learn how GlobalGiving can help your company support families in your community, and around the world.
Featured Photo: Support a Vulnerable Child Restore a Family by Rays of Hope