*The original blog post appears on The SHRM Blog.
The last few weeks of the Covid19 pandemic have been unlike anything we have seen in the workforce during our lifetime with excellent coverage from SHRM. On top of the health risks of a global pandemic, we are adjusting to entire companies shifting from working alongside each other to working from home. As if that wasn’t challenging enough, schools have closed and working parents are now part-time educators (and tech support for the various educational software systems).
The worlds of work and home have been blended together in a way like never before. The amount of change and its impact on our lives was impossible to ignore so I started something recently to not only bring everyone together but also lighten the mood. We implemented a weekly kiddie conference call.
What is the Kiddie Conference Call (KCC)?
The KCC is an optional weekly video call with children of employees with a simple cadence:
1. Everyone calls into a video call (we use Ring Central)
2. Each kid gets to introduce themselves.
a. They share their first name, age, where they are from
3. Finally, they share something they are thankful for.
As you can imagine, their answers range from hilarious (insert any kid response here) to heartwarming (thankful for the doctors fighting the coronavirus). We encourage the kids to ask each other questions and parents can submit future questions from their kids for the next meeting (Last week we found out everyone’s favorite dinosaur).
The response from both the kids (and parents) has been phenomenal. The kids love speaking to other kids and hearing their stories. There have been some extremely touching moments when children share how thankful they are to have so much more time to spend with mom and dad. It’s also been an excellent way for the kids to cope with the sudden change to their school year and get the perspectives of other kids experiencing the same thing from around the world. To have a child in Edinburgh, Scotland share what they are going through with another child in the Portland, Oregon has been extremely impactful.
As we head into our third week, we’ve seen the number of attendees continue to grow, and to my surprise, and an equal number of employees without kids join for the experience (and the laughs). The call never goes much more than 10 minutes but the smiles on the faces of the kids and their parents when we hang up speaks volumes to the impact it has.
As leaders, we are tasked with taking care of our teams professionally as well as mentally and emotionally during this difficult time. For those of us that are also parents, we have the opportunity to do the same for our families. We’ve found the Kiddie Conference Call has presented an easy and fun way to brighten the spirits of both.
During these tough times, it’s been amazing to see the world through the eyes of our children and be reminded that we are all in this together. Good luck and God bless.