The Impact of the Pandemic on Working ParentsBy Regina Cabal | Wed, 01/12/2022 - 08:57
Along with Katia Moye, I co-founded Momlancers and have been working closely with moms and dads for five years. Over this time, and particularly during the pandemic, Momlancers has seen constant changes in home-work dynamics, affecting thousands of working moms and dads.
An online survey that Momlancers conducted of parents throughout Mexico revealed that during COVID-19, most families increased their working hours, as well as housework and childcare, but the pandemic affected women the most. Our survey showed a 64 percent increase in the number of working hours (versus 36 percent for men).
Also, the survey revealed that the main benefit obtained from this new work normality is that they have improved productivity and men, specifically, found “balance” between their professional and personal life faster than women.
Parents have invested more hours both at work and at home. While this generates productivity, they have also been sacrificing rest and leisure.
Even though working at home can be related to a benefit provided by companies, more than half of the employees surveyed did not feel supported by their companies because they experienced a higher workload and lower salaries. Additionally, 48 percent of employees considered giving up their job but stopped short because they didn’t want to lose their income or their partner’s support.
Parents also expressed new concerns about getting back to “reality,” such as having to leave their children, getting COVID-19, travel time and the cost of transportation to the office.
According to 81 percent of working parents, the ideal work path should be flexibility of space and schedules. We are truly facing a time of transition and the best practice is experimentation.
Some of the alternatives that companies can offer working parents are:
- Provide technology and infrastructure. This can be as simple as increasing the working parents’ home bandwidth.
- Help with children: MARS created a virtual summer camp for their employees’ children. KPMG, Patagonia and Orion implement a physical space with teachers to help with remote schooling.
- Integrate mindfulness into your working schedule, such as that which Chade-Meng Tan promoted at Google years ago with the Search Inside Yourself movement.
- Promote rest and relaxation. PWC employees have the ability to “protect hours” for family care and no meeting should be placed in those moments.
- Offer flexibility. Australia and Greece: Parents can take two weeks of paid "caregiver leave" for unexpected school closings.
- Support normal and daily tasks, such as housekeeping, cooking and grocery shopping. Fringe is a new benefits platform that includes Uber trips and delivery from Grubhub.
- Help them with prioritization. Patagonia encourages parents to work “asynchronously” and switch from urgent projects to more important long-term projects.
- Promote the exchange of experiences and learning. Kellogg’s Mexico created its “Mom’s coaching Mom’s” program to give working mothers the opportunity to help each other.
- Look for leaders to lead by example. Mark Zuckerberg took two months of paternity leave. Sheryl Sandberg leaves at 5:30 p.m. every day.
To implement any of these activities, we suggest you follow this process:
- Listen to your employees
- Co-create with them
- Align your leaders
If you need help in any stage of this process, feel free to contact Momlancers to help you through it: email@example.com