When around 10,000 Advocate Aurora Health administrative employees had to abruptly transition to working remotely in March, the health system quickly realized that everyone’s situation was unique.
Some had to work around their children’s schedule, while some had to take care of family members. The independence of working from home and the ease of access suited some, but others missed interpersonal connection.
To ease the transition for working parents, the health system, which operates in Illinois and Wisconsin, offered a childcare subsidy of $125 per week for most of the summer. It recently reinstated the program as kids and their parents adjust to school amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Every team member is unique, each has different home circumstances,” said Kevin Brady, chief human resources officer at Advocate Aurora. “Children may be at school or not, or in a hybrid model; some have family members to take care of—each of those circumstances creates unique challenges. That’s why we put in place a family care reimbursement structure, to emphasize we are all in this together.”
Healthcare organizations are figuring out how to optimize the remote work dynamic as they weigh permanent work-from-home arrangements. While remote work has its advantages, healthcare companies have had to build a new culture, communication systems, collaborative environment and benefit design, among other hurdles.
“I am rethinking a lot of what I spent my career doing as a human resources professional because the world isn’t going back to what we knew it as,” said Robin Borg, chief people officer at Bind, a health insurance startup. “I am hearing that people have a hard time shutting off, for instance, so we are starting to put a lot of emphasis on performance versus hours you work. We are rethinking how we work and operate.”