usinesses are slowly reopening…finally. While for some this is a massive step in the right direction, as not being able to go into work can be such a pain for those of us who love to work in offices. It’s not, however, quite so good for others. We’re talking here about working parents who have been making the most of the time at home with their children of course.
However, it may not all be doom and gloom. Both schools and other childcare solutions have been working hard throughout lockdown keeping vulnerable children and the children of key workers safe, but the time for a more general opening is arriving soon. This will allow working parents to give their full focus back to their work, and as offices begin to reopen, this will see a massive impact as all these talented professionals will return to their organisations in full force.
Throughout the pandemic, and even some time before, employers have slowly been cottoning on to the idea that supporting working parents with childcare and childcare costs can be a great way to boost employee retention and work rate. This applies just as much for SMEs as it does for larger firms, as working parents can be found in every business, and supporting them to get the best work out of them can be done at any level.
We have seen some fantastic new ideas emerge like co-working spaces with childcare facilities included to make sure working parents are able to stay close to their children while working. Innovation like this makes us so proud to be advocates for working parents, as most people seem to understand that working parents have a lot to contribute, and that supporting them is the way to bring out their best work. This has slowly been trickling up into the mindsets of larger multinationals, as companies like EY and Accenture have been improving their policies to support their working parent employees.
Certain small businesses have also been doing their part in encouraging their employees to make the most of private and government childcare schemes if they are notable to provide their own, and their work is very much appreciated.
There is a big but however, as there is always more work to be done to help outworking parents to make the most of their time in the workplace. Most of this effort can be concentrated on the costs related to childcare, as these have skyrocketed in recent times.
Private employers have access to a plethora of schemes and policies that would allow them to fund their employees’ childcare options. These include the Cash Advance Scheme and tax-free childcare policies.
The motives for supporting working parents should really be obvious at this point, but we’re more than happy to spell them out again, and again, and again. Working parents are an essential part of the workforce and contribute so much to organisations at every level. We are sure that many parents would of course be able to survive balancing childcare with work, but to really get the finest work out of a professional, you have to be able to support them through the ups and downs of raising children.
It is also a moral responsibility of any organisation to stand for the wellbeing of its employees. We have seen mental and physical health become more prominent in the workplace, and we think that it is fantastic that this mindset is becoming more common. We would also say that childcare falls under this umbrella, and that businesses should be looking to shoulder some of the pressure wherever possible.