Why consider flexible models of working?
It’s likely to take some time for childcare numbers to increase in many areas as we all adjust and gradually return to new routines. There’s a lot to get used to, and adaptability is key to helping your business through these strange times. Here are some factors to consider:
Parents’ changed working patterns
We know that you already keep in regular contact with parents, whether or not their children have been able to attend childcare recently. Many of the families you work with now have different working patterns. This might mean varying hours, periods of furlough or working from home. As a result of these changes, parents are likely to have different childcare requirements for the time-being, and it’s important to really understand those requirements and how we can respond to them.
Parents’ reduced income
As we’re all too aware, many people have experienced a reduced income during coronavirus. Some parents might have faced fewer working hours or even redundancy during COVID. They may struggle to afford regular childcare for the time-being, but ad-hoc hours could support them when they’re in need.
Concern about the virus
Some parents may feel cautious about their children returning to childcare. They may have vulnerable relatives, or be vulnerable themselves. How can we support and keep in touch with those families not yet ready to return to childcare.
Support for you
Flexible models of working doesn’t only mean flexible hours; it can mean looking at how you work too. It’s been a strange and isolating time, and there’s a lot of new information and guidance to get used to. Would it benefit you to work together with another childminder or childminders as a way to support each other?
It’s also a good idea to think about how you might supplement your childminding income if needed. For example, you might find that you’re working fewer or shorter days. As a qualified childcare provider, you have plenty of transferrable skills that you could utilise in other roles to add to your income during these challenging times.
Closed childcare settings in your local area
Whilst many childcare providers are likely to experience lower numbers of children at their settings, some areas will have a reduced childcare offering due to COVID-19. In these cases, you may find that working with other childcare providers (for example, in a cluster or hub) allows you to help meet local childcare needs. It’s important to work with your local authority to establish childcare need and supply in your local area.