14 Aug I’m Feeling Hopeful for Parent Employees
Depressed. Anxious. Lonely. These are just a few of the emotions that parent (and especially mother) employees have reported feeling since the beginning of the pandemic. My hunch is everyone reading this post will recognize at least a few of the following dismal results from a variety of recent workplace surveys:
- 1 in 5 working parents report that either they or their partner are considering leaving the workforce to care for their children. (Cleo.com)
- 67% of parents report an increase in mental health problems since the start of the pandemic. (Alfred P. Sloan Foundation)
- 66% parent employees report that juggling work and child care responsibilities during the pandemic has caused their productivity at work to suffer. (Care.com)
- 91% of parents report they are experiencing significant stress around childcare and work challenges. (Cleo.com)
- Mother employees have reduced their working hours four to five times more than fathers. (Gender Work & Organization)
It certainly isn’t a pretty picture for parent employees and their families right now – and to make this current situation even more untenable, most schools in the USA haven’t started yet, and many will adopt a “remote learning” plan that keeps kids at home when they do start. I have no doubt that we would all agree that it is imperative that every business assess the needs of their parent population and implement thoughtful, supportive, family-friendly benefits as soon as possible.
Even amidst the doom and gloom, though, I am feeling somewhat hopeful about the future for parent employees. As Monica Hesse recently described in the Washington Post, “…the novel coronavirus has put sticks of dynamite into the cracks of our society, turning them into the canyons that must be navigated.” Obviously, caregiving and life-work integration challenges were present before the pandemic – but these uncertain times have moved the “working parent problem” from the back burner to front and center.
I have been extremely fortunate to have spent my entire career surrounded by children, parents, and professionals invested in the healthy development of families and relationships. Especially during these uncertain times, these professionals have been hard at work behind the scenes to improve the lives of parent employees and their families. Following are a handful of shout-outs to organizations committed to supporting parent employees:
- Soutiens and WMC Public Health Consulting are co-hosting the summit Bridging The Gap: Re-imagining Parental Support and Wellness for Businesses August 18th, 19th, and 20th.
- Care@Work at Care.com offers a host of services for working parents including Equal Parts – a helpful podcast for working parents.
- Cleo has developed a comprehensive family support platform with 1:1 guidance, evidence-based programs, and a personalized app.
- WRK/360 provides training, development, and support for working parents, managers and teams in addition to a variety of helpful resources and events.
- And, I would certainly be remiss by not mentioning the company I founded, The Loved Child (TLC). Our team of parenting experts in the Parents@Work program provides innovative and cost-effective services for parent employees in the workplace.
Written by Jennifer Gillette, Director & Founder of The Loved Child and TLC Parents@Work