These past months have been difficult for everyone, and like many companies, we have watched our employees struggle, often feeling at a loss as to how to help them amid these uncertain times. Parents have faced an especially difficult burden, especially those with younger children. I wanted to share how my company helped them face these struggles in the hope it will inspire others.
Our team members are the most important part of our company and we consider their families as part of our team as well. So when we saw our employees’ uncertainty, fear, and pain as the new school year approached and schooling looked to be a remote experience, we knew we had to do something.
Allowing work from home isn’t an option for everyone; many of our staff jobs simply cannot be done from home. So how could we help them? Guided by one of our core values — to do the right thing — my business partner and I decided to provide a learning environment on site, complete with a teacher.
But in the world of Covid, we needed to make sure we approached everything the right way. We spent a great deal of time setting up safety protocols internally and speaking with our legal counsel to ensure that we were on the right track. Meanwhile, Gregg Danzer, our HR director, focused on the logistics of creating a one-room schoolhouse in the office with sufficiently distanced computers and Wi-Fi for as many as 16 children.
We hired a teacher with elementary school experience, Emily Taylor, who started on Aug. 12, a week before school was scheduled to start in Guilford County, North Carolina. She is in our office eight hours each weekday to help teach kids from five to 11 years old, supplementing their online curriculum.
To keep up with safety protocols, Taylor and the children wear masks, we clean and disinfect the classroom daily, and practice social distancing. We are prepared to continue this assistance through the end of the school year.
One of the key reasons for our school is to provide peace of mind for our recruiters who need assistance with online learning and/or childcare during these turbulent times. Since our school opened, GPS employees have had productive weeks of work and their kids have enjoyed getting educated in a real school setting. Recently, we decided to open up our classroom to relatives of employees, instead of just their children.
Providing an option for teaching/childcare in this unprecedented environment of Covid-19 has been a fantastic choice for us. It was a very easy decision for me and my business partner to make; we did not hesitate to come up with a solution because our team members and our team members children needed a solution. This was our way of showing we have their backs.