Today is the first day that Melbournians are without childcare,Â babysitting, pet-sitting or other types of in-home support. It’s our second week for mandatory mask wearing,Â fourth week of remote learning for most school-age kids, and we can’t leave home after 8pm.
It is a particularly stressful time for those of us with caring responsibilities — young kids, elderly relatives, family members with special needs, even pets.
I’m lucky that my partner is able to share care with me. I offer my fervent well wishes to the single parents and those who need to shoulder the caring while their partner does essential work outside the home.
How can you help your Melbourne colleagues?
Shorter meetingsÂ — Can you default to 40 minutes instead of an hour? 20 instead of 30 minutes?
Delay non-essential meetingsÂ — We have six weeks of extreme juggling. Can theÂ discussion wait six weeks?
Two days for notice — If you give us forewarning about meetings, we can do time trading with our household members.
Avoid the peak times:
- 9:00-9:30am — When many of us are setting upÂ for school
- 12:30-13:30pm — Household lunch time. In the Melbourne office, we are actively discouraging lunch time meetings so that we can get some winter sun in the middle of the day.
- 17:00-19:00 –Â AVOID!Â This can be peak household chaos.
Support our flexible workingÂ — More than ever, we need flexibility. You might get emails from us at 5am, 10pm or on the weekends.Â I myself amÂ working afternoons and evenings, as I’m on kid duty in the morning. Others will be compressing their work week into four days. This is what we need to do to make life work so we appreciate your understanding.
The above ‘asks’ came from an office-wide group of carers during a meeting we held earlier this week. Please do ask your Melbourne colleagues if they appreciate any other kind of support.