Reopened Offices Won’t Mean Back-to-Normal for Caregivers


Jun 4, 2020

Mother with teenage boy working from home, photo by martinedoucet/Getty Images

Photo by martinedoucet/Getty Images

By Heather J. Williams and Bobbi Thomason

This commentary originally appeared on CNN on June 4, 2020.

As some workplaces start to reopen and work-from-home guidelines relax, corporate leaders may hope things will quickly get back to normal. But for employees who are also caregivers, that's likely not going to be the case. They may have kids who are still taking online classes and learning from home, lack childcare, or have ill or elderly family members in need of care.

In this transitional period of the pandemic, companies and managers should pursue giving caregivers the time they need—particularly in terms of time off—and create a work culture where they can use it.

Companies that have the financial capability to provide emergency leave should make efforts to do so. It may be less cost-prohibitive than they realize; likely only a small portion of their staff are actually full-time caregivers.…

The remainder of this commentary is available at

Heather Williams is a senior policy researcher at the nonprofit, nonpartisan RAND Corporation. Bobbi Thomason is an assistant professor of applied behavioral science at Pepperdine Graziadio Business School.

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