Clarksville, TN – For many Americans, the recent COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic has turned every weekday into “Bring Your Child to Work Day.” Zoom business meetings are regularly interrupted by off-screen laughs or screams for a missing toy, and laptop keyboards have become sticky with spilled juice and doughnut icing.
At Austin Peay State University (APSU), this new blending of home and work caused a bit of anxiety among the faculty and staff, prompting Austin Peay State University’s Office of Human Resources to take an innovative approach to the services it offers.
In addition to helping employees navigate the complexities of telecommuting, the office is now offering several sessions tailored specifically for working parents.
“As a mom of a busy toddler, their anxieties resonated with me,” Sheraine Gilliam-Holmes, executive director and chief human resources officer at Austin Peay State University, said. “At that point, the HR team shifted gears and decided to find innovative and interactive ways to wrap our arms around employees and their families – just virtually. We collaborated with colleagues across the University to create programming which engaged APSU parents and their ‘Little PEAYple’ for much-needed connection, fun and learning during an incredibly difficult and unprecedented time.”
On April 8th, APSU Human Resources presented Little PEAYple Toddler Time for employees with children under the age of 4. Claudia Rodriguez and Stacey Devirgiliis from Austin Peay State University’s Little Govs Child Learning Center hosted the interactive 15-minute session featuring music and family fun while teleworking.
Beth Lowary, APSU director of marketing, attended the session with her son, Cooper, and she was happy to connect with colleagues facing similar obstacles as parents working from home.
“It really shows how much APSU cares about its employees to provide these much needed virtual breaks each week,” Lowary said. “The subjects are highly relevant for where we all are right now, and my kids are so excited to have their own ‘meetings’ to look forward to – just like mom and dad.”
Austin Peay State University’s Human Resources is also hosting an APSU Parent Survivor Series, with sessions such as “Surviving Busy Toddlers: Tips for APSU Parents” and “School-Age Survivor: Tips for APSU Parents (Grades K-5).” Future sessions for families include “It’s Earth Day: Kids Protecting the Planet,” “STEM Fun with APSU’s Mad Scientist” and “Bring Your Child to ‘Tele-Work’ Day.”
“My daughter, Maddie, has always enjoyed Bryan Gaither’s mad science experiments, and she’s super excited about his upcoming Zoom,” Blayne Clements, APSU chief audit officer and a parent, said. “I really appreciate the HR team getting outside the box to help the University family, including the kids, get through this weird and challenging time.”
Information on Austin Peay State University’s HR classes is available at https://www.apsu.edu/human-resources/lgl/