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By the start of May each year, my children are well into their scheming on how late they will be sleeping in this summer and how much fun they will have at camps. But not this year. Due to COVID-19, many parents in the Tampa Bay region and across the United States are asking themselves, “What do we do with our children this summer?” Camps are being canceled, school is out, and daycare is severely limited. For some parents in Tampa Bay, they are fortunate to be able to work from home. But for many others, that is not possible.  So how do parents get back to work?

Communication Will Be Key

If you have children, especially younger school-aged children, now would be a great time to have a conversation with your employer about the challenges you may be facing this summer. Don’t expect the employer to read your mind, or understand your challenges.  They won’t know if you have family or friends to watch your children or even if you have a daycare location still available. Too often we assume the other side of our discussion understands our life when in reality they don’t. They have their own hurdles to overcome.

Both Sides Need To Be Understood

For communication to work, we need to realize that both sides need to be heard. In our discussions with many candidates on the phone, many are focused on their safety, their needs, and their ideals. With our new reality in this job market, only thinking about yourself will prove challenging to get back to work.  We fault no one for making a decision that they feel is in their best interests to keep them safe. But, we also need to recognize that Tampa Bay businesses have deadlines to meet, and projects to complete. The needs and challenges of both sides need to be respected in these uncertain times.  We need to work harder to better understand each other’s challenges so we don’t fall into the trap of selfish thinking.

Proper Planning

Unless you are a new parent, this one is obvious. You need to expect the unexpected. Who expects to get the call that your child care provider’s cousin’s boyfriend’s mom’s next-door neighbor has a sick fish that will keep them from watching your children today?  While I exaggerate, it is only slightly. Sometimes these situations are unavoidable, but wherever possible, have a backup plan in place.  Having, or at least trying to have, a backup will help you maintain a consistent work schedule and it shows your employer you are making an effort. Both are critical to maintaining your employment.

It goes without saying that we are in unprecedented times. As we try to get back to work, respect, and empathy for each other will be critical. We are all facing these challenges together, but our challenges can be different. At PrideStaff St. Pete Clearwater we do everything possible to help our clients and candidates make it through this time period as best as we are able. To learn more about PrideStaff, please go to www.staffingtampabay.com

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