Ads for Harvard Pilgrim Health Care in Manchester, NH
How Granite State employers can create parent-friendly workplaces. In 2020, 81% of employed mothers and 96% of employed fathers with children ages 6 to 17 worked full-time, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. For many, juggling fulltime careers while playing the role of parent, teacher and caregiver 24/7 took a toll on mental health and overall well-being. The pandemic also created a significant disruption in the workforce. As many as 16.9% of Granite State citizens lost their jobs during the pandemic, and although many jobs have returned, not all employees have. The leisure/ hospitality sector returned 40,000 jobs but has nearly one-quarter fewer employees than it did pre-pandemic. Individuals that continued to stay employed, particularly working parents, experienced a shift in needs and mindset as a result of the pandemic. Here are some ways companies can play a role in better supporting the long-term needs of working parents. When possible, offer flexible schedules. One positive outcome of the pandemic has been the realization of time efficiencies, such as eliminating wasted commuting hours and being able to spend more time with family. According to a recent survey, 61% of parents said they want to continue working remotely full-time while 37% preferred a hybrid work schedule, citing flexibility as one of the top reasons behind their decision. Employers can help get parents back into the workplace by offering compressed work weeks, reduced hours and protected time off/sabbaticals. Help make childcare more accessible. Tied with the desire for flexibility, the second leading reason parents cited for sticking to remote work or hybrid schedules is childcare. While schools have resumed full-time, in-person learning this fall, parents face obstacles outside of school hours, such as limitations of before- and after- school programs and a lack of safe and reliable childcare during work hours. Not only can childcare be difficult to coordinate, it also presents a financial burden. Affordable childcare is defined as that which takes up 7% or less of a family’s income, but in New Hampshire a year of full-time infant care averages out to $12,971 (15.3%) according to the Economic Policy Institute. As part of the American Rescue Plan, New Hampshire was awarded grants upwards of $77,393,843 to provide relief for childcare providers statewide and support working parents looking for affordable care. Employers wanting to support their employees that juggle child care needs may also consider expanding their benefits packages to offer childcare-specific benefits such as company-paid credits for booking in-home childcare, childcare reimbursements and increased contribution limits to dependent care assistance plans. Make mental health a priority. Over the past year and half, the pandemic has brought to light how stressful it is to be a working parent. In fact, more than a third of those surveyed by the U.S. Census Bureau and the National Center for Health Statistics in July reported having symptoms of anxiety and depression, while 31% of New Hampshire residents reported either an anxiety or depressive disorder. Meanwhile, a different study reported that 55% of parents and 59% of working moms expressed that parenting during COVID-19 has been the most stressful time of their lives. When providing benefits for your employees, make emotional well-being a top priority. Consider mental health offerings, counseling and enrichment programs as well as management trainings to help better support employees, particularly those who are parents. Create a supportive work culture. Here are a few tips to keep top of mind: • Listen. Listening and adapting can demonstrate that your organization is open to responding to evolving needs. A change as simple as restricting late afternoon meetings can be a big help to parents getting their kids situated after school. • Connect. Continue to find ways for working parents to feel a sense of community and connection, and encourage management to be a champion, and the voice of, these efforts. The ability to communicate any challenges and be met with understanding and support goes a long way. • Respect. When it comes to caregiving, demands can change quickly and unexpectedly. Create a culture of respect for the many jobs that parents do, within and outside of the workplace, and the flexibility these jobs demand. • Trust. When employees have trust, they report higher levels of job satisfaction. While demands at home require a lot of juggling, working parents need to feel trust from management that they’ll get their job done. As we look ahead, prioritizing the concerns and values of working parents starts with creating a culture of supportiveness throughout the workplace. For the latest health industry news, visit harvardpilgrim.org/hapiguide.
Sep 07, 2021.
Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Health Insurance Ads from NH Business Review