Once considered a luxury, businesses are now realising that childcare is a crucial piece in the puzzle when it comes to supporting their employees. In recent years there has been a rising focus on employee welfare and a greater understanding of the pressures facing working parents. These issues have only been exacerbated by Covid-19, with 3 in 4 UK parents revealing their need for childcare that’s more frequent or more flexible than their pre-pandemic arrangements.
Here are just 5 of the reasons why working parents need childcare support – and why we, as employers, should be giving it to them.
1. Lack of childcare support disproportionately affects women
Although we have made huge strides towards the goal of gender equality, there is still a long way to go. Due to the unequal division of caring responsibilities in households, women still do two-thirds more childcare than men.* This inequality has become increasingly visible during the pandemic, with a third of working mothers reporting that they have lost work or hours due to Covid and lockdowns. This figure rose to 44% when it came to mothers from the BAME community.**
The inevitable impact on working mothers’ career development is significant, and has huge implications for companies looking to become more diverse and inclusive. Supporting mothers with childcare not only enables more women to join the workforce, but also allows them to rise to and maintain positions of seniority. Societal changes also mean that many working mothers are older than they were in previous decades, and therefore childcare support has particular benefits for women who are mid-career and have greater professional responsibilities.
2. The make-up of the modern working family has changed
It’s not just the modern workforce that’s changed – it’s also the dynamic of the modern working family. Men are increasingly concerned about their work/family life balance, and employers need to understand the importance of childcare support to working fathers. Supporting fathers through parental leave and employer-backed childcare can have a huge benefit for working dads and their families.
Similarly, single-parent households are often disproportionately impacted by poor access to childcare. In cases where employers do not offer paid leave, childcare support or flexibility at work, many single parents feel that leaving their job or reducing their hours is the only viable way to continue caring for their children. Aside from the clear financial implications, this can inhibit single parents’ professional development.
3. Lack of support reduces productivity
Intuitively, we understand that parents who know that their children are safe, happy and cared for are more likely to focus on their job. Removing the lingering worries around drop-offs and pick-ups allows parents to work more effectively, giving them the headspace they need to focus on the work at hand.
And yet, the data shows that 50% of working parents feel burnt out. Parents clearly aren’t being offered the childcare support they need, despite 96% of parents believing that employers should be providing them with childcare support.
Childcare support is crucial to driving employee engagement and focus, which in turn boosts productivity. At Bubble, our mission is to help working parents be all they need to be – and this doesn’t just benefit the parents themselves, it benefits the businesses they work for and provides a huge return on investment.
4. People are our most valuable resource
As businesses, we know that people are what make businesses thrive. As our most valuable resource, it’s important that we show employees how much we appreciate them and build a supportive company culture. Looking after your employees helps them be better workers, as well as better parents.
Of course, there is also a clear business case for this: increasing your support of working parents builds company loyalty, and as a result talent retention skyrockets. It also helps companies attract the best talent, and support employees to return to work after having children.
5. When childcare plans fall through, everything else collapses
Both parents and their employers know how challenging things can be when a last-minute emergency comes up – a nanny calls in sick, a playdate gets rescheduled or there’s a meeting you just can’t miss. Although flexible working arrangements can be a huge help in alleviating some of these difficulties, it’s also important to empower your employees with childcare support so that they can continue their work and have greater peace of mind. Flexible childcare provisions can enable you to reduce absenteeism and the inevitable stress it results in.
Childcare that works, so you can too
Aside from the many pragmatic reasons why support for working families can boost your company’s bottom line, there’s also something to be said about the benefits to your company culture that childcare support can have. Recognising the difficulties that face working parents, and helping them meet their caregiving responsibilities, creates an environment where every employee can feel valued and empowered to work to the best of their capabilities.
Bubble For Work exists so that employers can support their working parents to be all they need to be. It is the UK’s #1 on-demand childcare and family support provider, offering the flexibility needed for businesses and their employees to thrive. Send us a quick enquiry to learn more about how you can level up your company’s support for working families.