If the past year has taught us anything, it’s that remote work is something that should not be counted out as a possibility. Employers were forced to make rapid changes to their operations, but for some employees—particularly parents—the shift was both disruptive and frustrating, leading some to question whether they should change careers entirely.
It’s critical that your organization considers how the pandemic has influenced your employees with families. It might be a tough conversation to have, but we are sure that they will appreciate you making this effort moving forward.
How Has COVID Influenced Families?
The entire family dynamic is influenced by the COVID-19 pandemic. While it might originally seem like a great thing to be able to stay home with your family more often, many employees are finding out that it isn’t as simple as that. It takes a lot of effort to keep a family safe, healthy, and educated even under the best circumstances. Even before COVID, many parents opted for childcare services, and when they were not being cared for by others, they were safe and sound at school. Even the most responsible of parents relied on others to take care of their children, and with social distancing guidelines throwing a wrench into these arrangements, parents had to adapt, once again, to the circumstances. It became clear that being a good parent as a working adult would be exponentially harder until the pandemic resolved itself.
This is especially difficult for parents who want to maintain any semblance of professionalism while also maintaining their personal and familial relationships. While some parents are looking forward to returning to the office, others are a bit mixed on the matter, having several concerns related to the following: childcare (49 percent), exposure to COVID (53 percent), decreased work flexibility (48 percent), lowered work-life balance (46 percent), and office politics (31 percent).
Other Concerns for Parents and Remote Workers
There are several other professional concerns that parents might have about returning to the workplace, and they all might play into a parent’s decision to do so.
- 60 percent of parents are feeling burnt out, compared to the general population rate of 56 percent.
- 41 percent of parents say that they are worse off in terms of mental health compared to before the pandemic, as opposed to the general population’s 38 percent.
- 19 percent of parents worry about their opportunities for promotion while working remotely, whereas 14 percent of all respondents do.
- 22 percent of parents claim that their skills have diminished, compared to the general population’s rate of 19 percent.
- Working parents struggle with setting boundaries, along with a whole other plethora of issues, from working remotely:
- 40 percent overwork themselves or work longer hours than they should
- 36 percent deal with distractions unrelated to the workplace
- 28 percent must deal with unreliable Internet connections
- 26 percent struggle with technology issues that require troubleshooting
- 24 percent are sick of video meetings
- 18 percent have issues maintaining their relationships with coworkers
- 16 percent have issues maintaining their relationships with their bosses
On a similar note, raising children while working remotely may have a lasting influence on employment as a whole:
- 43 percent of parents have seen no impacts
- 21 percent cut back on their working hours
- 16 percent quit work while planning to rejoin the workforce later
- 4 percent had a partner reduce their hours
- 2 percent quit work with no intention of returning
- 2 percent had a partner quit as a result
Remote Still Works for Employees… Some of Them, Anyway
Despite the countless challenges and obstacles that have cropped up over the past year, employees do value remote work, at least some of the time. It is clear that businesses have managed to keep the lights on through this whole situation, so it is reasonable to think that remote operations can continue in at least some capacity moving forward.
Even the removal of a commute has been a huge boon for some parents, as they can spend more time with family and enjoy more flexibility with scheduling. Some have predicted that remote work can lead to many more benefits, as well, including increased productivity, improved work-life balance, and a healthier office environment, as well as others like gender equality.
Is your business prepared to make the jump back to normal business operations? If so, what does “normal” look like for you? Will you maintain some remote operations moving forward? Nexela can help you prepare no matter your decision. To learn more, reach out to us at (215) 525-3223.