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Acer America
Acer America Corp. is a computer manufacturer of business and consumer PCs, notebooks, ultrabooks, projectors, servers, and storage products.


333 West San Carlos Street
San Jose, California 95110
United States


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February 23, 2024 |

When MSPs Support Working Parents, Both Win

By adopting family-friendly policies, channel pros stand to benefit from a wider talent pool and more engaged workforce.

Many companies are unaccommodating to the needs of working parents––and some are downright hostile. In today’s job climate, though, when the demand for IT skills is at an all-time high, channel pros who create a culture that supports working parents stand to benefit from a wider talent pool. Here are some strategies for attracting and retaining those employees.

The first step is to understand the challenges that working parents face. Good child care, for example, is essential––and for many in the U.S., it remains a luxury, noted Alexis Haselberger, a time management and productivity coach based in San Francisco. “The U.S. doesn’t have social safety nets or family-friendly laws to help protect working parents as much of the rest of the world does,” she observed.

Alexis Haselberger

The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated this problem with lockdowns, which left parents trying to remain productive working from home while simultaneously supervising their children’s remote schooling. Even with major outbreaks a somewhat distant memory, daycare centers and schools still send exposed children home to quarantine. This requires additional juggling for working parents.

Moreover, when home is now the “office,” it further blurs the lines between work and personal time, intensifying an already problematic “always on” ethic. This increases pressure for everyone, including working parents who may feel obligated to respond to messages immediately, even after hours.

This “always on” ethic has struck IT professionals particularly hard, according to Daisy Dowling, founder of Workparent, a coaching and training consultancy for individuals and organizations based in New York, and author of Workparent: The Complete Guide to Succeeding on the Job, Staying True to Yourself, and Raising Happy Kids. “The IT sector has borne a lot of [the] stress of this pandemic,” she said, since it was technology that enabled business to continue even during lockdowns.

To ease this stress, Haselberger encourages companies to alter expectations on what requires immediate attention. “If you have a true ’emergency channel’––like the phone––then employees can feel comfortable turning off [Slack and email] notifications and responding as needed, rather than being constantly and needlessly interrupted,” she suggested.

Another way companies can be more accommodating is to broaden their definition of “working parent” beyond new mothers on maternity leave, Dowling said. The reality is, working parents are also parents of teenagers, fathers, single parents, sole breadwinners, LGBT families, and more. Therefore, MSPs need to consider all of these family structures. “If you’re just focusing on one little piece, you’re not going to have an impact on the whole problem,” she said.

The need for flexibility is arguably the biggest issue for working parents. Here again, Dowling urges organizations to broaden their definition of what “flexibility” means. Many people define flexibility as “work from home,” but she believes this is a mistake. “To say, ‘Here’s what flexibility is and isn’t,’ you’re going to paint yourself into a corner,” she said. Flexibility, she suggested, could mean shifting an employee’s work hours, spreading those hours out in nontraditional ways, having an employee work on contract rather than full time, or providing job-sharing opportunities––with remote work being only one component in all of this.

Establishing these definitions isn’t solely the work of the employer, however. Dowling encourages IT business owners to hold employees accountable. If, for example, the employee wants to clock out at 4:45 p.m. to pick up their child from daycare, he or she should express this––and propose how they could make up any lost time. “It’s the employee’s job to work with you to figure out how to succeed in their role while taking care of what they have going on outside of work,” she shared. “Think about how that person can empower themselves to do what they need to do. Have them come to you with solutions.”

Image: iStock

Article Updated: 2/23/2024

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