If you had told me a year ago that I could work remotely, while also educating my children from home at the same time – I might’ve laughed at you. It’s certainly not something I would’ve signed up for. But, with no say in the matter – it happened, and I felt my focus split. My work still needed to get done. My kids still needed my attention. I wasn’t just a User Experience manager at Cisco, but I was now also a full-time teacher and childcare provider. By the time we got to the end of the day, we rarely had enough energy for quality time together.
Everyone was just in survival mode – do what you can, with what you have. But, of course, Cisco was there to support however they could.
At Cisco, there is such a wide depth of benefits that I always find it great to be reminded of what we have access to – especially for working parents. One of the greatest benefits for employees in the United States is that of Bright Horizons Back-up Care. It is there when employees need it most, no matter the situation, and enables employees to either send their child to a facility for in-person care or have a childcare provider sent to their home, on an as-needed basis.
As if simply having this benefit wasn’t incredible enough – co-pays for parents using the benefit were waived until the end of 2020! You read that right. Through the end of last year, Cisco gifted its employees the option to have free childcare.
I had used this benefit before when I needed to go into the office for a big presentation, workshop or training and my kids were babies. It was lifesaver, and while I thought my children had since ‘aged out’ of the benefit – I knew it was one that continued to help employees in an unprecedented year.
At the beginning of last year, I was outside talking with a neighbor who raved about having a Bright Horizons Back-up Care provider come to her house to watch her elementary aged child. It sounded heavenly, and that was before the world turned upside down.
After months of trying to balance it all – from being a working mother, caregiver, and now a teacher – I was thrilled to learn my children had not aged out and decided it was time to use this amazing Cisco benefit once again. It was one of the best decisions I made all year, and I wish I would’ve made it sooner!
The childcare provider (who is delightful and wears a mask the entire time) takes care of 99% of my kids’ needs. She helps them with their virtual lessons, reads with them, helps them with homework, plays and draws with them. She makes sure they get their snacks and makes lunches for my kids. And get this, she even wipes down the counter and cleans the dishes after making lunch! (If you are a mom, you can understand just how much of a big deal this action is!) Another plus is that my kids adore her and look forward to spending time with her.
I finally feel like I now have uninterrupted time to focus and get work done. At the same time, my kids needs are met throughout the day and, most importantly, we enjoy our quality time together again.
This benefit from Cisco, and their support and understanding for working parents has truly shown me why they are the #1 World’s Best Workplaces, and I will be forever grateful that they put family first.
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