It’s tough to do any useful work when you’re stuck at home, struggling to home-school bickering kids, let alone when you’re trying to produce a COVID-19 vaccine.
British drugmaker AstraZeneca had spent years preparing for a pandemic, but when the moment finally came it was caught cold on a crucial front: stressed parents working from home struggled to focus.
So the company recruited up to 80 teachers to run online lessons and repurposed a car parking app to book virtual classes. It also lined up personal tutoring and helped to locate some childcare spaces for those battling to adapt to the abrupt change to their lives.
The move by Britain’s biggest drugmaker, and similar efforts by companies the world over to host everything from magic classes to yoga for children, shows the lengths businesses are going to to help staff work through the coronavirus crisis.
“It was quite apparent that it was going to be really challenging for those with small kids and with two parents working,” AstraZeneca’s HR chief Fiona Cicconi told Reuters.
“People were starting to say they were feeling really anxious, I’ve got so much to do, how am I going to get it done?”
The new corporate attitude towards home-working could help lead to higher productivity and loyalty, according to experts, and ease moves towards more flexible working as companies rethink whether staff need to be in the office, and as schools take time to return to normal.