As we move forward into the next phase of hybrid working, employees are looking to their employers for solutions to help balance work and family life dilemmas. New research from employer solutions, nursery, and back-up care provider Bright Horizons found that now nearly half (48%) see family life as a higher priority than before the pandemic. The Work+Family Snapshot 2021 also showed that loyalty and productivity are both positively impacted by employers providing family support.
Over 1,300 employees were surveyed across 170 of Bright Horizons’ clients. The research showed a clear link between employers providing family-friendly services and employees’ ratings of productivity, engagement, loyalty, and wellbeing. Bright Horizons provides its clients with practical solutions and resources like Back-Up Care, Workplace Nurseries or Workplace Nursery Partnerships (employer-facilitated places in nurseries near their company locations) and access to these led to positive impact on key metrics, with even higher impact among those who had used back-up care in the last six months.
The research recorded that both men and women thought family life was a higher priority than before, men fractionally more so. And despite large amounts of data in wider research showing the gendered impact of the pandemic, survey responses in the Work+Family snapshot showed that women’s career aspirations and ambition remain as high as men’s.
Respondents to the survey had a range of caring responsibilities from childcare to eldercare, including those in the “sandwich generation” with both. 78% of employees agreed that their organisation cares about their work and home balance. With 79% agreeing that their manager cares about their work and home balance
Jennifer Liston-Smith, Head of Thought Leadership at Bright Horizons, said: “Family friendly employers reap the rewards when it comes to engagement with their employees. Having tangible solutions in place to help with work and life challenges for employees is something that has boosted wellbeing and loyalty during recent extreme times and which smart employers will continue to provide, given the engagement premium.
“We conducted a similar survey in December with a random sample of 1,000 working parents in the UK. What we found is that there is a 20 percentage points increase for our clients’ employees compared to the general population when it comes to seeing their employer as invested in their balance of work and home life. 58% of the random sample believed this against 78% of Bright Horizons clients’ employees. It is testament to how practical support can make all the difference for employees, their ability to perform and how they feel about their employer.”
Findings from the survey were recently shared by Bright Horizons at an online client networking event. During this event, attendees engaged in polls, which provided further feedback about work / life balance issues. 71% of attendees noted that flexibility exists in their workplace to help support working parents. 14% will be providing extended back-up care and 7% will give access to tutoring or specialist clubs to working parents in their organisation.
Jennifer Liston-Smith added: “The closures of schools and care settings demonstrated clearly that care is essential infrastructure for many people and businesses. Breakdown in this care, whether childcare or eldercare, can leave people scrambling for cover and have a negative impact on their wellbeing and productivity.
“In times like these, it’s vital to share best practice and experience for the way forward. Over half of the attendees at our recent online event told us how their companies are currently consulting with their employees and deciding about next steps to take on hybrid working. Organisations and leaders who have done well in taking a flexible approach to the recent trying times, backed up by practical support, have boosted employee loyalty and engagement for the longer term.”