Working from home is not enough to solve the crisis of parents forced out of work

The ability to work from home is not a silver bullet for staff struggling with work-life balance and juggling family responsibilities. According to new research, working from home over the lockdown primarily improved work-life balance for those over the age of 55, while those below retirement age still struggle to cope. 

Working from home isn’t the only support needed to protect against employee turnover and burnout. For working parents and women especially, childcare is most fundamental to a good work-life balance. A global survey from Deloitte released earlier this year found 1 in 4 working women rate childcare support as the most important benefit employers can offer to improve gender equality. 

Without access to childcare, the overwhelming majority of working parents report having to work well into the night and on weekends, even when working from home. Having access to emergency backup and regular, reliable childcare provides a mental relief and productivity boost that neither flexible working nor added parental leave resolves. 

It’s why forward thinking employers like this financial services employer have introduced flexible at-home childcare support for any staff with caregiving responsibilities. The conflict between employed-work and family-work isn’t going anywhere, in fact it’s always been here, and it’s about time businesses do more.

Despite the advances made with vaccinations, children are still at risk of being sent home from school to self-isolate, putting parents in a difficult position. We already know from the start of the pandemic how difficult it is for working parents to juggle remote work with childcare and homeschooling. The working mums forced out of the workforce during the pandemic are testament to the limitations of home-working with poor childcare access. 

What’s the solution?

Having children and a career shouldn’t have to be a choice. There is a better way. During the pandemic dads working from home became more involved in running the home and coordinating childcare than ever before. Now is the time for employers to expand their support for women and men balancing family and work demands by providing access to flexible, on-demand childcare and caregiving support