In the recent past, it was sometimes easy for employers to overlook the fact that their employees had personal lives. But then the COVID-19 pandemic came along and changed all that, often in unexpected ways. With today’s new normal, employers are focusing on their employees’ personal needs more than ever.

With summer coming to an end and the new school year looming, the newest issue employers face is witnessing their employees struggle with nearly impossible decisions: Should working parents send their children back to school, which could possibly expose them to the coronavirus? Or should they keep them home, which could potentially jeopardize their ability to earn a living?

Fear, uncertainty, and doubt

Business owners, HR specialists, and managers have been facing similar challenges. Although they’ve adopted agile, flexible policies to accommodate social distancing, they’re also keenly aware of the considerable fear, uncertainty and doubt gripping their workforce. It’s an understandably bleak time, and it’s prompted many employers to become more cognizant of the kinds of support their employees need.

Today, it’s more important than ever for employers to continue supporting their employees, especially working parents. Choosing whether to keep a child home to ensure their safety is not easy. It’s especially difficult for essential workers, who may have to find childcare while they’re at work, or have an older child care for a younger sibling, often for hours at a time. Meanwhile, employees face other worries: Will the coronavirus come after their jobs, their health or their family’s safety?

Now, more than ever, it’s crucial for employers to realize that working parents are likely to be distracted and distraught while on the job. Working collaboratively with them during this incredibly difficult time, instead of expecting them to perform at pre-pandemic levels, will be beneficial to a company’s long-term success. Also, empathizing with employees and supporting them with generous policy allowances can help everyone survive these challenges.

During challenging times like these, a company’s employee assistance program, or EAP, can be a tremendous resource for providing care and resources to strengthen employee well-being. Click here to learn more.