We're all feeling the burden of these challenging and uncertain times. As governments and businesses introduce new measures to prevent the spread of the pandemic, many of us find ourselves pondering the increasingly personal impacts of this 'new normal' – particularly those with caring responsibilities.
Nat Saunders is an SAP Service Delivery Lead with AGL. She shared how she and her family are creating their 'new normal' and exploring what will work best for their family as the situation continues to evolve.
Nat shares her 'new normal'
I work full time, but AGL has always had incredible flexible working arrangements – which enabled me to work from home once a week prior to the pandemic. I have a lot of support from my husband, Brad, too, as he works part time and looks after our one-year old daughter Scarlett a couple of times a week.
AGL’s Nat Saunders with husband Brad and baby Scarlett
I'm working from home every day now, as is Brad. With the stricter lockdowns, and our growing concerns for Scarlett's health as the pandemic spreads, we agreed to withdraw her from care for the time being. This means we are now alternating who cares for Scarlett throughout the week. This feels like the right decision for us, and something I'm working through with my leader.
Many people are struggling at the moment, both economically and emotionally. My main fear is for the health of my family and friends. I just want everyone to stay safe and do the right thing by everyone else. I also want to do my part in helping 'flatten the curve', so that if our loved ones do fall ill, our health system can support them.
There is a silver lining to everything though. For me, it's that I get to spend an extra two hours a day with my family (at least!) as I don't need to travel into the office. I love that I get to spend that little extra time with Scarlett in the morning, and sometimes we can go for a short walk or play in the garden over lunchtime. This has become our new normal.
I feel safe and grateful to be working for such a supportive organisation, but I do see challenges arising with my daughter not being able to go to day care.
That's why it's so important for us, as parents, to keep connected and support one another. This is a new experience for everyone, and to be able to share advice with no judgement amongst colleagues and friends will help to make each day better.
I have seen so much positivity and support already, with parents sharing ideas on how we can keep our kids entertained and educated (without the use of screens) during this period of isolation. It's so great to see, and so inspiring!
How we're supporting our parents and carers
Just over half of our people at AGL have some form of parenting or caring responsibility.
We’ve introduced a number of resources beyond our flexible working options to support our people who have these responsibilities.
For example, we’ve launched an internal interactive info hub called Families at AGL, designed to support our people with family, career and wellbeing resources. These resources include webinars and interactive Q&As with work-life coaches as well as other working parents and carers, covering topics like managing stress and anxiety, learning to work from home productively, juggling family caring needs, self-care, and remaining connected to colleagues.
It’s important to us that we support all our people in every way that we can – during this crisis and beyond – to ensure that they feel comfortable and secure to deliver their best.