Slowly, but surely, we are inching out of lockdown restrictions caused by COVID-19 and people are starting to go back into the workplace. For many, this will be the source of great relief having been stuck at home worrying about the security of their employment, however, for some this is causing further anxiety due to concerns raised over childcare.
For parents, especially those with young children who are not yet going to school, there is less options open for childcare. Not all nursery and day care centres have reopened and there still remains restrictions in place for other independent childcare professionals. On top of that, there are many who are worried about their child potentially catching the virus and bringing it home with them.
So, where does that leave parents when they are asked to return to the office?
Talk to Your Employer
Your employer will understand that these are not normal times. This is not your usual run-of-the-mill return to work with the coronavirus still very much at large, with the stresses it has and will continue to cause for the foreseeable future. If you do not feel comfortable about returning to work, or at least want further assurances as to what your employer will be doing to keep you safe, you need to voice your concerns.
If you have concerns about returning to work due to childcare complications, this also needs to be communicated with your employer. Although schools are planning to reopen (depending on where you are in the world), not all settings have reopened, and this leaves many workers in a difficult position.
Leaving the children with grandparents during the day while you go to work may not be an option, either, which may mean that in order to return to work, you would have to pay for childcare in which there are limited spaces.
For single parents, it is even more difficult because you don’t have that partner that you can rely on. Whereas you may have been able to work out alternating working hours so as at least one of you about to look after the little one(s), this may not be an option.
Free childcare options can allow for a set number of hours a week where you can place your child into a childcare setting which would allow for you to take up employment. Of course, this still restricts you to the type of work and hours that you can work, but does at least provide an opportunity for you to get back into the workforce if this is what you are looking to do.
If you have been one of the many to have begun working remotely during the pandemic, ask if this is an option to continue doing citing childcare reasons as to why. Many employers have been pleasantly surprised by the positive response they have had from employees as well as the maintained and, in many cases, improved productivity levels.
Although there has been stories of parents struggling to juggle looking after children and working at once, it has eased the financial burden of paying for childcare as well as the cost of travel. For parents, especially single parents, that may otherwise struggle to make ends meet, taking away those financial burdens has really helped many families.
Whatever your personal situation, you must speak to someone about it and work towards finding a mutually beneficial solution both for now and the future as we move out of the COVID-era.