6 tips to help working parents and employers survive — and maybe even thrive — during COVID

Panelists for a discussion called “Saving Business (and Ourselves) by Reinventing Work,” clockwise from top left: Brea Starmer of Lions + Tigers, Blessing Adesiyan of Mother Honestly, Shauna Causey of Weekdays, and Sarah Peck of Startup Parent.

With U.S. schools back in session — but most kids learning remotely from home — working families and employers are searching for strategies to survive and sometimes even thrive amid COVID-19.

Lions + Tigers Future of Work, a Bellevue, Wash.-based consultancy, hosted a virtual panel Thursday to share ideas helpful to individuals as well as companies navigating these challenging times.

The video conference was moderated by Sarah Peck of Startup Parent and included Shauna Causey, founder and CEO of the Seattle-based childcare startup Weekdays; Blessing Adesiyan, founder and CEO of Houston’s Mother Honestly; and Brea Starmer, founder of Lions + Tigers.

Here are six takeaways for making the most of pandemic life:

Carve out uninterrupted time

Structure your days with 1-to-3 hours that are as close to guaranteed to uninterrupted as possible. It might be late at night or early in the morning, but this is when you can get your most important, focused work completed.

Share and delegate

Parents with partners need to share the load — which often doesn’t happen as women tend to be the default caregivers. Have an honest conversation with your partner if you need to so that childcare responsibilities are shared equally.

Adesiyan said that during COVID, men are getting more done at work and getting promoted as a result. “This is accelerating men’s careers at the expense of women,” she said.

And wherever possible, outsource tasks to recover some of your time, including grocery deliveries and laundry washing.

Advocate for yourself

Many women have slowed down at work as kids have been at home, but there’s still time to better position yourself for end-of-year reviews. Put together a list of your accomplishments and get ready to make the case for what you’ve achieved. Talk to managers about steps you can still take to boost your performance for 2020.

Swap gyms for daycare

Companies offering perks like gym memberships should consider transferring those benefits to covering childcare costs for families. It doesn’t require adding a new expense, but just re-allocates dollars.

Focus on flexibility

Allowing for flexibility in terms of when and where employees are working can open the door to a broader pool of talented employees that might otherwise be overlooked.

“We need high impact women available for work, even for 10 or 15 hours a week,” said Starmer.

Seize the opportunities

Particularly for smaller companies, the tremendous disruption caused by COVID is a chance for startups and more nimble organizations to take advantage of the situation, allowing them to out-compete against larger organizations.

“From a startup standpoint, there hasn’t been this much opportunity … in the past 20 years,” Causey said.

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