Being open and honest about the need for flexible schedules will help employers and employees, says Elena Paraskevas-Thadani (She/Her)

Remember when a “stay at home parent” meant a parent who did not work? In 2020, under the “new normal,” many working parents have the responsibilities of stay at home parents. While many gladly said goodbye to their daily commute, that time has been filled with additional chores, responsibilities, and stresses, such as supervising e-learning, cleaning, feeding, and cooking interspersed during the work day, a constant trickle of never-ending demands. Employees are often unable to unplug from work and cannot disregard their home responsibilities. The solution? Workers need to be honest with themselves about what their “real” schedule looks like and plan their day, including meaningful increments of unplugged time. Companies need to be open to conversations about schedules and employees should share these schedules with each other. It may be that the workday ends later for the same amount of work hours with protected chunks of time away when family needs peak. This flexible schedule is better for the company and workforce than 9-5, a schedule created for assembly line factory workers. That schedule was created due to the progress of the time, and progress, by definition, is ongoing. We have made progress this year in many ways, so let’s keep going, even when 2020 is behind us.