The COVID-19 pandemic has forced staffing agencies to get creative and adapt to the many restrictions that have now been in place for close to a year. Many have found the hardest hurdles to overcome are the confusion over school closures, the difficulty of distance learning, and the lack of childcare. But some organizations have devised brilliant solutions to adapt to these restrictions. One such company is our client Graham Personnel Services, who have implemented in-office education and childcare at no additional cost to their employees, complete with a teacher to help younger children with their distance learning.
“We have a large lobby, and we converted it into a classroom for our recruiters so that they could bring their children in. We knew childcare and home schooling would be a significant issue for people,” says Will Graham, COO and co-owner of Graham Personnel Services.
Graham Personnel Services opened their in-office school in August. Employees’ children (as well as nieces and nephews) have been attending Monday through Friday, accommodating a variety of schedules and modes of distance learning. To top it all off, Graham Personnel Services has also hired a teacher to help the younger children. “One of the moms came to us and said her children are doing the best they ever had. The classroom is smaller and they are getting more one on one time,” says Graham. “That shook me up, that was a pretty special day.”
The atmosphere of an office changes when kids are nearby. Art projects and books decorate the hallways, laughter is always in the background, and there are costumes on Halloween—creating an environment that is enjoyable not only to children, but to employees as well. The result is a winning balance between work and home life. “We’ve been voted best company to work for, for 4 consecutive years,” says Graham. “We try to really take care of our people, to walk the walk instead of talking the talk.”
Times of crisis often foster innovation, and Graham Personnel Services has illustrated that perfectly in their adoption of free in-office childcare and schooling. They have also shown that such innovations often improve work life in the long run, even when they sprang from something as difficult as a pandemic.