{ "media_type": "text", "post_content": "Curious to get perspective...I have 2 kids in elementary school and I have no idea how my working spouse and I are going to manage virtual learning. I understand there’s no obvious solution, but curious if you find it odd that there’s no acknowledgment by leadership that this is a massive issue facing a large portion of the workforce (with potential implications to the business)? Not looking for advice on my situation, but perspective on how you think this will play out for orgs and employees.", "post_id": "5f10fddd3088dc00283dd3dd", "reply_count": 95, "vote_count": 9, "bowl_id": "552d1d24dc1c586b09d2d051", "bowl_name": "Consulting", "feed_type": "crowd" }

Curious to get perspective...I have 2 kids in elementary school and I have no idea how my working spouse and I are going to manage virtual learning. I understand there’s no obvious solution, but curious if you find it odd that there’s no acknowledgment by leadership that this is a massive issue facing a large portion of the workforce (with potential implications to the business)? Not looking for advice on my situation, but perspective on how you think this will play out for orgs and employees.

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I feel like people were understanding at first but I definitely get the vibe that their patience is wearing off for those of us without other childcare options but to watch our kids while we work.

We ended up creating our ‘quaran-team’ of 3 families who have gone in together to manage the situation.
When schools went remote here in March, the team got together and agreed on social distancing we were comfortable with because we were going to be in regular contact in our house. There are 8 kids total and everyone came to our house every day. Each parent took a morning each week where they run the school stuff for all eight kids while the rest of the parents worked elsewhere in the house. Then we had 2 babysitters from our neighborhood who came over after lunch to play with the kids, help with homework, make snacks, etc. for the afternoon.
It was messy and a little crazy but ultimately worked. If school is virtual again in the fall, we plan to do it again.

likesmart

Here's a few tactical tips for leadership from my current workplace and previous experiences:
- continue WFH if possible. allow some people back to office if SAFE and if they really can't work productively at home.
- meetings capped at 45 min in each hour. gives people 15 min to check in on kids, use the restroom, etc
- protected meeting free 1.5 hrs in middle of day so families can have lunch together.

And here's a radical one. My best case at BCG was one where we were hard-limited to 50-55 hours a week max based on the schedule of the data team we were using and some other factors. I mean best both from a sustainability perspective and also the quality of the output. Why? Because we were laser focused on prioritizing the most important / the right analyses. We didn't waste time. And we were all rested enough to bring our best thinking to the case.

likesmart

D1, completely agree and these “tougher questions” may be the forcing exercise we all need. Thank you for your perspective.

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I’m also surprised and frustrated this hasn’t come up. Since covid has started I feel like the working mother / parent has been forgotten. There is all this celebration for folks being heros in the community or with clients. What about us?

I’m a mom. I cook all the meals. I do all the grocery shopping. I do half the laundry and cleaning, wiping groceries, etc. I sit thru my preschoolers zoom classes because he is to you to do on his own. I work my full hours, make all my deadlines. But my boss has no clue. It doesn’t even occur to him. Only concession I get is I work when I can. I get no time for myself. And I’m exhausted. When will I be celebrated?!

And might I clarify working parent of a young child. HUGE difference. Disappointed with my company.

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Op- Your post is great. My comments are very specific to M2’s rant coz it doesn’t make any sense to me.

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Honestly, I think part of it is firms have absolutely no idea how to make things “fair”, and someone is always going to complain.

I’m a late 20’s single guy. I honestly am totally fine taking on more hours to help people with kids get through this (and I have done over the past couple months). However, even though I want to help, this workload is not sustainable (70-80 hours a week) unless I have the motivation of a significant raise and bonus. And therein lies the problem - for firms to acknowledge the problems facing working parents, they would then have to do something about it. To do something about it, they might have to encourage others to take on the workload. But no one is in a position right now to go throwing huge bonuses or raises around. So if you ask others to take on the work, you then annoy a lot of single people who are now picking up the slack without being compensated.

And don’t forget that a lot of people just don’t want to work more hours no matter what.

likesmartfunny

First of all, you are a gem for even thinking about others when you don’t have kids. I will admit I did not do that before I had my own!. And I don’t think any working parents expect anyone else to pick up our slack... totally get that we got ourselves into this. But I will admit I don’t think I would’ve had children had I known I would be expected to homeschool them! Really just more looking for a varying perspectives on this topic because I know there is no right answer and ultimately it is no one’s problem but the parents. 

likeuplifting

I am a single mom of an 8 month baby and have no nanny or help. I am reaching the burn out. Some comments on this thread are just so selfish and make me despise the society where we currently live. I am not working because I need a career, I am working because I need to feed my baby.

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More people need to hear your reply to D4! People get caught up in their own world and forget to consider situations their not experiencing or have experienced

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My wife and I decided a long time ago that she will be the home maker and I will be the breadwinner. Working out great thus far

likefunny

That’s nice that you’ve worked that out but my family certainly hasn’t. We went into the pandemic as a dual income family and we live a life that relies on dual income so how would one of us just stop working? Do you suggest I just stop paying my bills or mortgage to make that work?

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I just had this discussion in depth with some leaders today - I believe it is a huge risk for workforce. Parents managed through the final semester of school closures, and are struggling through the summer - with the hope that things would be stable by September. We now know that is far from reality as this is here to stay for at least 6 to 12 months in varying cycles and intensity - it’s not sustainable for parents and those that care for elders. Organizations are starting to look at what they can do to support people but there are no easy answers and I agree with OP - significant workforce risk.

likehelpful

Since there are SO many college kids - especially Seniors who just graduated - looking for jobs - why not contact a local university and see if you can hire someone to help your kids with online learning when it returns this Fall. There's a huge business opportunity for someone enterprising enough to get it started.

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Yes and that’s exactly what many of my friends and I are all trying to do. We feel fortunate to have the means to do so.

Hmm that just sounds like bad leadership! On my account they been very empathetic and individuals are working hours that suit them better, agreed by both leadership and client. Just need to have the conversations. People may surprise you.

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i dont think you should even consider having to make a choice between the two! Not until you've explored all the other possible avenues through proper communication. In large firms im sure if you reached out there would be someone willing and able to provide some level of support in some way.

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I don’t agree that the leadership doesn’t acknowledge this. Maybe it varies from group to group but overall I have seen people being very cooperative. We literally take calls with people’s kids screaming in the background without raising a brow.
People are adjusting all the time according to the schedules of their colleagues whose schedules depend on their kids schedule. Everyone is trying their best to cooperate. I am surprised to see your comment. Would like to hear from others too. Maybe my group’s leadership in considerate and others aren’t which is too bad.

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That goes without saying, D7

Everyone is replaceable

❤️ - your PPMD Masters

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I am under no delusion to the contrary. But I think an equally problematic scenario is one in which people do not leave and attempt to do this all. Because it will short-change the organization.

likehelpful

The solution is to return tax dollars for schools to parents, so they can find a solution of their own, asa school vouchers.

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And how exactly then do we pay the teachers - most of whom are also parents?

I’ve gotten emails about parenting support. I ignore them because I’m 23 with no kids. Are you looking for something specific?

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Not trying to give to advice!! Just honestly here to understand what those constraints are and what’s an acceptable level of support

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Yeah honestly even my close family and friends don’t get it unless they are in the same position i am (same age kids, same childcare situation).

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OP some friends of mine have employed a part time teacher at their daughter’s school to come at their home daily and home school her. They think it is a win-win situation. The teacher was not being paid as she was part-time - so now she had the opportunity to earn a good salary. My friends could attend meetings, do their work and only have to worry about entertaining their two year old. The teacher socially distanced and did not interact with other people except my friends’ family.
They think it is money well spent. You could look into a similar option, a teacher, teacher’s aide etc.

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Yes, this is a fantastic solution and I am grateful to have the financial means to do this. Unfortunately the talent pool is rather slim, but I am hopeful I will find a good fit The reality is, I would rather work than argue with my children over homeschool. So I am perfectly happy giving my salary to someone who would enjoy that job!

likesmart

I’m still lucky. Will look for new nanny soon. Spend my salary ensuring she takes Ubers not subway etc. what about parents that are out of the nanny phase?

Women in the workforce was predicated on the fact that kids went to school.

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I think that there definitely needs to be a clearer plan and that we should be communicating about this. It IS odd that we aren’t when it’s affecting so many. While I do think everyone should be treated fairly, fair does not mean equal, and I think we will need to take a hard look at how we allocate workload, and perhaps ask our single and childless practitioners to take on a greater percentage of the workload since they don’t have the additional childcare responsibilities. That’s not a great answer but I’m trying to look at this ridiculous situation that’s been created in a practical manner (which is inherently in conflict).

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D4 are you in consulting? I find it hard to believe this is your suggestion if you are..
Many parents had a nanny or care taker - why can’t they continue that? Or as others have said, getting a few friends/neighbors together and hiring a teacher to assist them. Is it ideal? Of course not.. but it’s a viable option.
Many people travel for work. How did they handle children at home while they were in other parts of the country? There are solutions, but putting the burden onto others is the worst I have read.

My husband and I have crazy careers, and realize that children don’t fit in our lifestyle. Should everyone not have kids? Of course not! I love kids, and as you said, they are our future and will be taking care of us eventually. But, it was a decision we had to make.. and many people have to make.

I honestly can’t wrap my head around our colleagues having kids when both parents have strenuous careers - pre-pandemic. I can’t imagine leaving my baby a few days a week, missing back to school night, soccer practice and band concert. It’s just not the life for me and basically a nanny would be with the kid more... That’s me though, and obviously some people are cool with missing a lot of their kids childhood (which is completely fine and their decision). We all have choices and options and things to take into consideration in life.

I don’t want to sound uncaring and rude. I completely get it. Parents have been given 80 hours to use as they please. I have used zero of that time. If many of us have not used the time, maybe they can offer it again. But also this is our job... your career and home life are separate. It’s frustrating and it’s sucks. People should have more empathy and you should get a pat on the back for all you are doing... good luck.

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They have definitely acknowledged it multiple times.

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I️ can’t pretend to fully comprehend the impact bc i don’t have kids, but I️ would expect acknowledgement too. It’s also extremely new for HR and other policy makers to address, so voicing concerns can be valid and beneficial

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Who is HR? 🙃

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