Twitter launches virtual camp for employees and their children

Witnessing the pressure some of its employees are under while working and taking care of their children during the pandemic, Twitter is launching a unique perk to help working parents: a virtual camp to keep their kids occupied.

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The program, dubbed Camp Twitter, is a free, virtual, eight-week program “designed with families in mind, offering a variety of live and on-demand classes and fun activities to help families shape a schedule that works across any time zone this summer,” the social media company says.

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“The wellbeing of our Tweeps is ultimately what drives everything at Twitter, and we recognize the added pressure and responsibility parents have taken on at home during this unprecedented time, balancing childcare while performing their day jobs,” says Tracy Hawkins, vice president of real estate and workplace and remote experience at Twitter. “With many schools and summer camps being closed due to the pandemic, we wanted to step in and provide a fun, educational and meaningful alternative that is accessible to all of our parents around the world.”

Classes focused on topics of parents’ choice, as well as activities like cooking lessons, yoga classes and music sessions, are among the offerings in the program, which will run through August 28. Parents, meanwhile, can attend the camp’s livestream webinars led by psychologists and health experts, as part of Twitter’s partnership with its wellness providers Happify Health and Modern Health. Twitter also says it will provide guidance on “how to access one-on-one sessions and tips and tools to help parents overcome challenges of e-learning while working from home.”

The company is one of many rolling out perks and offering flexibility to help working parents through the pandemic. Microsoft said in April it will offer up to three months of paid parental leave to employees facing school closures due to the coronavirus pandemic. Pinterest rolled out a new four-week paid leave offering for parents so they can take time off when they need it, and expanded its partnership with parenting benefits provider Cleo to give more parents access to the tool. CVS Health and Target rolled out childcare benefits to give employees fully covered days of backup care.

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While employees in general are struggling during the pandemic, parents are especially feeling the stress of trying to take care of their children at home while being productive at work, numerous studies have found. More than 50% of working parents are currently without childcare, and one in five said either they or their partner are considering leaving the workforce to care for their children, according to WerkLabs, the insights division of The Mom Project. COVID-19 is leaving working moms, in particular, “struggling to manage it all,” Pamela Cohen, behavioral research scientist and president at WerkLabs, recently told HRE.

Related: Are we about to see a mass exodus of female workers?

Twitter’s virtual camp announcement follows its announcement that it will embrace remote work options indefinitely. In May, Twitter said it will give its employees the option to work from home “forever” following the coronavirus pandemic that pushed the employer to embrace the working arrangement.

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Kathryn Mayer
Kathryn Mayer is HRE’s former benefits editor and chair of the Health & Benefits Leadership Conference. She has covered benefits for the better part of a decade, and her stories have won multiple awards, including a Jesse H. Neal Award and honors from the American Society of Business Publication Editors and the National Federation of Press Women. She holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Denver.