September 15, 2020
New research by Vita Health Group claims British parents are set to spend the equivalent of more than two working days extra a month on the school routine due to the additional childcare management needed due to the pandemic and employers will have to consider this in their workplace policies to ensure working parents don’t burn out.
The research suggests that parents are spending on average 46-minutes extra a day (230 minutes a week) undertaking new tasks like staggering school drop-off and pick-up times, washing school uniform regularly and stepping in for lack of wrap-around care as an immediate consequence of the pandemic.
Jane Muston, Clinical Director at Vita Health Group, emphasised, “The mental and physical benefits of children being back at school cannot be understated, and certainly employers will need to be sure to keep this in mind when managing their teams, especially those teams which are made up of working parents. Work-life balance is a thing of the past. The key for parents is to create a work-home synergy that suits their own individual needs and then, most importantly, communicate and negotiate this with their employers.
“Childcare management in an already time-consuming world, is no mean feat.”
The emphasis must be on both parties here to make this ‘new normal’ work. For parents, taking the initiative to open up an honest and open dialogue with their employer, one where they share their true reality, could help create a flexible working package for them that reduces daily stress and anxiety. Ultimately, this will make employees more productive throughout the working day, remove this ongoing issue of presenteeism and ultimately ensure employees don’t burn out.”
The research of 2,000 parents of children aged between four and 16, comes as many parents have experienced an unprecedented 24-weeks juggling childcare, home-schooling, and work. And this is really showing; nearly half (47 percent) of parents admit to feeling overwhelmed due to managing new back-to-school routine. And despite the additional pressure and weight of childcare causing a stark increase in parental anxiety, a quarter (25 percent) of parents say they have no coping strategies in place to support their own mental health.
Muston says: “We can see from the research that families are adapting to meet new childcare needs, with men dedicating longer hours. But let’s be clear, finding an additional two working days a month to plug into childcare management in an already time-consuming world, is no mean feat.”
Image by Bruno /Germany