39% of working parents want workplace mental health support

70% of working parents require more long-term childcare supportTwo in five (39%) working parents of children under 18 would like mental health support in the workplace, according to new research from Working Families and Bright Horizons.

The findings, released to coincide with National Work Life Week (2-6 October), revealed that 89% of working parents believe access to flexible working arrangements has or would have a positive effect on their wellbeing, while 37% said subsidised childcare or back-up care was important.

Seven in 10 parents agreed a culture that encourages work-life balance was an important workplace benefit, with higher pay (65%), managers with the skills and knowledge to support them (58%) and access to their preferred flexible working pattern (57%) also highlighted.

Nine in 10 (89%) would feel more loyal to an employer that offered them flexible working opportunities, with 86% believing access to their preferred flexible working pattern makes them, or would make them, more productive at their job.

Furthermore, 60% said that variable hours were key, followed by hybrid working (48%) and home-based working (44%), with 63% saying their employer understands what they need to conduct their work and caring responsibilities. Meanwhile, 30% had thought about quitting their job because it is not sufficiently family friendly or flexible.

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Jane van Zyl, chief executive of Working Families, said: “Employees want their workplace to care about being family friendly, to care that their work patterns work for their lives, and to care about their wellbeing. Successful employers will be those who are more in tune with their employees’ needs, giving them the support to work flexibly and being mindful of their mental wellbeing.

Denise Priest, executive director of Work+Family Solutions at Bright Horizons, added: “Employers need to think beyond adaptable working patterns and salary if they want to lock-in talent and improve productivity in the long term. Mental health concerns can be lowered when parents have real practical support such as help with care and educational support for their children and coaching for themselves.”