Supporting the work/life/home-schooling balance


Thriving, not just surviving: Empower your customers and employees as they tackle home-schooling and remote working

By now, many of us will have adjusted to our own ‘new normal’ during the lockdown. Routines will be established; children will be used to the idea of learning from home, and parents won’t be taking a standard working day for granted ever again. As the novelty, excitement and anxiety of the recent rush begins to calm, it’s important to reflect on the challenges already conquered, and plan for those ahead.

Juggling work, home and school

Experts are advising that distancing measures will likely remain in place for the foreseeable future. This means our nation of new part-time teachers; part-time remote workers could be juggling their dual roles a little longer. With advice ranging from the maintenance of strict routine, to suggestions that children should be learning practical skills outside of academia, it can be hard to know which path to follow.

The truth is that there will never be a one-size-fits-all approach for many of these new challenges. As they navigate their changing worlds, there’s no better time to show support for your customers and employees. Whether it’s lending an ear to encourage communication, or rewarding a job well done.

Here are a few ways you could be offering timely gestures of encouragement and solidarity to your workforce or customer base.

Work hard, play hard

As guidance for parents taking over education, Action for Children suggest following a timetable that includes regular breaks, “so the daily routine is much like school”. Any school routine will involve an element of play - away from the traditional learning environment it might be easy to forget that kids are usually around their friends all day, laughing and learning together. Allowing time for entertainment will also relieve the pressure for your remote-workers, providing more time and space to focus on their day-jobs.

Save the day for your new part-time teachers with ways to keep the kids occupied outside of lessons. Distributing e-codes in real-time, for a range of online retailers will help your business to hit a meaningful touchpoint. With our Select platform, recipients can easily choose their own reward from hundreds of options. So, whether its craft supplies, toys or the Xbox keeping the kids entertained in their down time, your employees or customers might be able to catch a few extra minutes to themselves, on you.

It’s not just about the children. Parents are rising to the occasion, managing working from home alongside child-care and education. Regular breaks are important for the little ones, but they’re just as necessary for grown-ups too. Overworked, over-stressed employees are more at risk of losing focus on the job. Once the laptops are turned off and the kids are tucked in, make sure your employees are finding the time to turn off too. Help them unwind at home and avoid burn-out. Whether they prefer to get lost in a gripping TV show, jump into a new hobby or relax with a nice book, we have a range of gift cards and e-gifts perfect for the job.

The gift of time

Though the climate is challenging, a silver lining for many families will be the extra time gained together. Whilst caught up in the hustle and bustle of everyday life it can be hard to make time for those closest to us. We’re now having to make compromises, but comfort can be taken in the newfound playtimes and bedtime stories that might otherwise be languished on commutes.

For some, these extra moments will fit naturally around current routines. For others, a helping hand might be appreciated. Offering flexible working can promote a healthier work-life balance and foster a sense of wellbeing amongst your workforce at a vital time. At Blackhawk Network we’re being encouraged to find business hours that work for us and our families. It might mean starting and finishing early to accommodate another parent’s work schedule. Or splitting work hours across four days instead of five. Offering reactive flexibility in this time will promote productivity and allow your teams to concentrate.

Keeping it informative  

In an age of connectivity, most children and teens will be too clued up to fall for little white lies like “The Wi-Fi doesn’t work during school hours”. Whilst it’s important that they still have fun and unwind, there’s a balance to be struck. Luckily, there’s a wealth of educational material to be found online - even where you’d least expect it. If your employees or customers are finding it hard to keep children focused on their study, help them mix it up.

Our Teen Choice and Student Choice gift cards can both be used against Spotify, where a trove of educational podcasts can be uncovered. There are ‘TED Talks Daily’ podcasts, which cover a wide variety of subjects, delivered by industry experts. For little ones, satiate the never-ending questions with ‘But why: A Podcast for curious kids’. You’ll find both the Teen Choice and Student Choice brands redeemable on our self-serve Reward Your Employees website, or available to purchase individually on both our business and consumer gift card stores.

Finding it hard to pry your own kids away from the TV? Your employees probably will be too. At some point it’ll be tempting for all parents to sit them down in front of a favourite show just to grab a few minutes of uninterrupted work time. But it can still be educational. A NowTV Entertainment pass includes access to the National Geographic channel, with a huge back catalogue of documentaries on demand. As a bonus, there’s tonnes of great programmes for the adults too. Give a gift that really hits home.

Help make everyone’s money go further

No matter what the personal circumstances are, we’ll all feel the purse strings tightening in these times. As your employees embrace new routines balancing childcare with education and remote working, or frontline jobs, the last thing you’ll want them to be concerned about are their finances.

The added distraction of financial anxiety can impair performance, engagement and mental health. According to a 2019/20 report by Neyber, “not prioritising employee financial wellbeing could be costing UK employers a grand total of £15.2 billion each year”. Acting early to offer support could save your employees peace of mind, and your business productivity in the long run.

Pure is a universal employee benefit that helps pay go further. It’s a Mastercard® prepaid card that can save your employees up to 15% at more than 70 national retailers, including essential shops like ASDA, Boots, B&Q and Wilkinson’s. Pure can also be used as a budgeting tool to help employees plan their finances. Every penny counts in times like these. Show your employees you’re invested in them and help their money work harder with Pure.

Supporting your key workers

For plenty of families across the country, the daily routine won’t have come to a halt. Thousands of NHS frontline staff, teachers and essential retail workers are continuing work outside of the home. Their children may still be at school, or there might be another care giver having to step up to the role of teacher. Over 1 million people are employed by the NHS alone, so many of your customers and their families could be impacted. These are the real heroes of the moment, and now is the perfect time to let them know you care. Give a heartfelt thank you to your customers on the frontline, with a token of your appreciation that can valued now or enjoyed later.

Recognise them with an instant digital reward that gives your key workers the ultimate choice in where and when to spend. We work with hundreds of retailers, including most major supermarkets, meaning that there is an option for every scenario and every budget.

Personalise your e-gift and fulfil your send in the way that works best for you. Our solutions provide the opportunity for your frontline workers to save their code to a digital wallet, spend online or even convert to a physical card.

Whether they opt for a voucher towards essential shopping needs, children’s entertainment or a treat to look forward to, your key workers will know you’re there for them in the hard times as well as the good.

We’re all in this together

A heart-warming takeaway from the current situation is that we’re all unifying. Though life has changed over recent weeks, we don’t have to tackle new challenges alone. There are now millions of parents around the country embarking upon home-schooling and remote working at the same time.

Ideas can be shared; support can be provided and we’re all in the same boat. For lots of people, great comfort will be taken in their work communities. There are many timely and relevant ways to show your support and appreciation for employees, through ‘thank you’ gifts or helpful resources. Whichever approach you take, remember to keep community at the heart of your organisation. Encourage your workforce to share ideas, stories and keep each other’s spirits high.

If you’d like to chat about how your business can keep consumers engaged, and empower employees to succeed, use the contact form to the right or call us today on 0207 419 8191.