Managing work and play: Insights into working parents’ summer childcare struggles
A new study has revealed the challenges faced by working parents in managing childcare commitments during the summer holidays.
The research, among more than 1,000 parents by IWG, shows that almost two-thirds (62%) of working parents find arranging childcare for the school summer holidays to be a significant source of stress. Consequently, over half (55%) use their annual leave to meet childcare responsibilities, whilst over 1 in 10 (12%) use their entire annual leave entitlement in the process.
The stats demonstrate the challenges parents face balancing work and childcare responsibilities. 43% of parents adjust their work schedules by working fewer hours, with 31% working early in the morning to cover childcare during the day, while 29% work late in the evening for the same reason. Additionally, 29% feel that their work suffers because they have to allocate more time to childcare.
Parents have pointed to the availability of flexible working arrangements as the number one factor in reducing the stress of the summer holidays, allowing them to cut down on the commute and work closer to home. In fact, 38% of parents identify this as the primary solution, with the percentage rising to 49% among parents of children under five years old.
More than half (56%) believe that such a workspace would help alleviate the stress of the summer holidays, especially amongst younger parents (25–34-year-olds), where the figure rises to 67%. Benefits identified include reduced commuting distance (46%), cost savings on travel and transport (35%), and the ability to utilise the workspace during periods of childcare (34%), such as when their partners are at home. An overwhelming majority of parents (78%) express their preference to use a flexible workspace closer to their homes if given the opportunity.
These findings highlight potential solutions for employers and how they can alleviate the pressures and challenges parents face, particularly during summer holidays.
IWG Chief Commercial Officer Fatima Koning, commented: “This research shows that the flexibility afforded by the hybrid model can be a game-changer for families during the summer holidays, especially those with young children.
“Hybrid working has made a vital difference in my life: I am empowered to co-parent my daughter, take good care of myself and progress in my career – priorities that would be far more difficult to manage successfully if I were travelling back and forth to a central office every day.
“Offering hybrid working options is such an important and straightforward way for businesses to show commitment to employees by freeing up their time and giving them greater control over their schedules to manage their family responsibilities. Organisations that have adopted hybrid working are not only seeing healthier and happier workforces, but more engaged and productive teams.”