More than 50% of working parents are currently without childcare. That’s right. More than half of the U.S.’ working parents are responsible for meeting their professional responsibilities while simultaneously attending to their children's day-to-day needs, including managing their education. The restructuring of school learning plans, transitions to hybrid and online learning, and the loss of a 5-day in person school week are dramatically affecting the careers and income potential of parents across the nation. In a recent report released by Werklabs, 1 in 5 working parents said either they or their partner are considering leaving the workforce to care for their children. And the bulk of the effects from COVID are resting on the shoulders of working mothers. According to Werklabs, women are twice as likely than their male counterparts to leave their employer in a year's time due to their workplace experience during the COVID-19 pandemic.
While private educational opportunities exist for families, they are often not affordable options for the average family. Take for example, learning pods, which are also known as pandemic pods. A learning pod typically consists of 4-6 children who meet regularly with a teacher who is responsible for curriculum design, instruction and assessment. More often than not, the parents share the salary costs of the teacher, materials, and any other expenses. The average salary of a learning pod instructor is $72,000 and that alone is an expense most families cannot afford. In-home childcare, tutors and babysitters can also add up to an amount that leaves parents with no other option than to resign from their work positions. Now more than ever, working parents need the support of their employers.
Recently, Santa Energy in Bridgeport, CT opened up a free learning pod for the children of their employees. The company provided the space and furnishings, access to wifi and hired a certified teacher; the children of Santa Energy's workers are able to continue their public school education, be it hybrid or online, at no cost to the family. The effect has been positive for both the business and their employees. As an essential business, Santa Energy is able to meet the needs of their customers, parents are able to work more efficiently and children are learning. This creative solution not only enables Santa Energy to meet the needs of their working parents, but also demonstrates the company’s commitment to their employees and their families. Such acts have been proven to boost employee morale, increase employee loyalty and improve employee retention; all of which leads to lower human resource expenses for the business.
Not every business is in the position to provide a free learning pod, but they can still support working parents in other ways. Here are a few things business leaders can do to ease the stress of working parents.
Assess your company’s employment policies to ensure they are family friendly. If they aren't? Revise them!
Provide flexibility with how and when work is completed. Allow your employees to communicate which days and times work best for them for meetings and deadlines.
Create internal systems of support for working parents such as regular “wellness days,” opportunities to connect with other working parents and forums to discuss their challenges and needs.
Provide the necessary technology and support for remote work when needed by parents. Don't just set them up, provide on-going technical support and resources.
Help employees find access to medical care, be it physical or mental health. Providing a list of health and wellness resources before a crisis hits can eliminate a great deal of stress and start the healing process sooner.
Reach out as business owners or managers to seek creative solutions for your working parents. Ask them what would help them manage their workload and eliminate unnecessary concern. Don't wait for your employees to come to you. Be proactive!
Communication is a key ingredient in all of these suggestions. Open, honest conversations with a business' working parents can provide a much needed perspective of the challenges they face and even present unique solutions that will enable them to work more efficiently and effectively. With over 50% of the nation’s parents needing childcare and a lack of feasible educational resources and options, it's up to business leaders to create solutions for their employees.
Trifecta Education is happy to provide a free consultation to help business owners and leaders increase support for working parents. If you’re interested in creating a learning environment at your business location, we have the expertise needed to get your learning pod up and running quickly. We’ll handle everything from start to finish: planning, set-up and implementation. We’ll even find the right teacher for your learners. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation. www.trifectaeducation.com