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Remote Schooling Also A Challenge For Employers

Many mployers realize that with remote learning, some of their employees will have responsibilities at home.
Many mployers realize that with remote learning, some of their employees will have responsibilities at home.

As businesses around the world begin to bring back employees, there are now new challenges beyond mask wearing and securing hand sanitizer. Companies are having to implement varying work schedules because of the need for employees to be home to supervise their kids during remote learning.

During anEggs 'N Issues remote meetingsponsored by the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, a panel of human resources executives discussed "Return to Work Strategies."

At the Cincinnati Northern Kentucky International Airport, Vice President of Human Resources Sybil Murphy says employees are concerned about their kids and the varying return-to-school plans. "Do you come to work from six to nine, go home, then do the NTI (non-traditional instruction) that you need to do and then come back? Do you work your regular hours? Do you work the second shift hours instead of your normal work hours?"

Murphy urges employees and employers to get creative and step out of the status quo.

Pat Dearing, vice president of global human resources for Clinical Trial and Consulting - also a panelist on the virtual meeting - says most of his Northern Kentucky employees are working an alternating schedule which will extend through the end of August. One week they come into the office and the next week they are at home.

"We do have some with childcare issues, with health care conditions with either themselves or family members, that we allow to work completely from home," he says.

John Parran, Meritor's senior talent management specialist, told participants the employer has to be proactive and "more human." Some employees are eager to return to work, he says, while others are uncomfortable. He says you have to ask people how they're feeling because "you want employees to show up at their best." 

To make employees more comfortable in these uncertain times, CVG's Murphy says the airport's CEO Candace McGraw makes videos saying, "Things are going to be OK. Here are the measures we're taking. Here's where we're at; here's where we're going."

When hiring (mostly by Zoom), panelists said different skills have emerged that seem important. They include collaborative skills, leadership and crisis management.

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With more than 30 years of journalism experience in the Greater Cincinnati market, Ann Thompson brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to her reporting. She has reported for WKRC, WCKY, WHIO-TV, Metro Networks and CBS/ABC Radio. Her work has been recognized by the Associated Press and the Society of Professional Journalists. In 2019 and 2011 A-P named her “Best Reporter” for large market radio in Ohio. She has won awards from the Association of Women in Communications and the Alliance for Women in Media. Ann reports regularly on science and technology in Focus on Technology.