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Supporting Staff During COVID-19: Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando’s Bring Your Child to Work Program

September 3, 2020, The Association

As part of our new Innovation Bank of short, pre-recorded webinars, we’ll be rolling out a brilliant idea from one of your colleagues in the field every week. First up, a timely topic—supporting staff who are parents of school-aged children—with Fraily Rodriguez, Vice President of Operations at Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando.

When the pandemic first hit, Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando regularly asked staff what they needed and how they were doing. Their top 3 concerns? Their safety, their paycheck, and their families. In order to fully support employees who needed a safe space for their children to finish up the school year remotely, the Florida agency set up a Bring Your Child to Work Program. 

Here are the key components that made the program such a success:

  • They set up their virtual school in a dedicated, safe space.
  • They provided workstations and tablets for students.
  • They used volunteers to act as room monitors.
    “We set up clear guidelines for them,” explains Rodriguez. “They would not be managing behavior, but helping the children get on their Zoom calls and answering questions.”
  • They allowed employees to check in on their children as needed during the day—not just on breaks—and gave them flexibility to schedule their breaks so they could eat lunch with their kids. “It meant a lot to our employees—and it did not negatively impact production or disrupt their daily responsibilities,” says Rodriguez.

Florida students are back in brick-and-mortar schools for now, so the program is on hiatus. “But we know if schools close,” Rodriguez says, “we’re ready to pump it back up again. Employees know that they can still work and their children will be taken care of.”

Interested in starting a program like this for your staff? Listen to the 20-minute recording here. Rodriguez and Pet Alliance are proud of this innovative idea that puts families first—and would love to assist other agencies in setting up a similar program.

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