The remote and hybrid work scenarios have had a significant impact on the lives of working parents. Although it has benefitted employees by reducing commuting time and costs, there are some challenges of remote/hybrid work that primarily affect working parents, viz., maintaining work-life boundaries, childcare plus distractions, limited social interaction, increased workload and expectations, technology plus connectivity issues, etc.
According to a report released on 15th May 2023 by childcare provider Bright Horizons, despite flexible schedules and work locations, working parents face challenges with work-life balance, child care, and loneliness.
Approximately 58% of working parents reported that increased schedule flexibility provides them with relief and fulfillment. A remote or hybrid setting, on the other hand, can lead to isolation. Approximately 47% said they only talk to people in their household, and 41% said they go days without leaving the house. These challenges appear to be particularly affecting Gen Z and Millennial parents.
“Many working parents are struggling personally and professionally. While they have embraced a more flexible work environment, it has come with unintended consequences that are impacting their mental health and their ability to manage life’s responsibilities,” Stephen Kramer, CEO of Bright Horizons, said in a statement.
“The moment is now for employers to step in to fill these voids,” he said. “This includes clearly defined benefit programs, mental and professional support services, as well as access to quality child and adult care.”
In a survey of over 2,000 working parents in the United States, 40% said they don’t have access to the child care they require, with 41% citing cost as a barrier. It has an impact on work as well; half of these parents reported that when they are stressed about child care, their productivity at work suffers.
According to the report, many of these workers are seeking assistance from their employers. About half of the respondents said they wished their employers would do more, such as provide on-site child care or set up a flexible spending account (FSA) for childcare expenses. Employees ranked emergency and regular child care as two of the top five benefits that would encourage them to stay with their company.
A recent report released on 2nd Feb 2023 says that across the country, lack of dependable childcare costs parents, employers, and taxpayers approximately $122 billion in lost earnings, productivity, and revenue each year. This could cost employers more than $1,600 in lost revenue per working parent.
To meet the demand, the Biden administration has proposed a budget that includes provisions for affordable child care, universal preschool, and up to 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave. Although the budget is unlikely to pass Congress with these sections intact, some aspects may garner bipartisan support and gain favor among employers.