Inside: Why does remote work for working parents? Dive into the survey results from FlexJobs and make your case for a remote work arrangement.
According to a recent survey by FlexJobs, 61% of working parents want to work full-time remotely in a post-pandemic world and an additional 37% want a hybrid schedule. That’s 98% of working parents who say that remote work works for them.
Now the big question is this: How can working parents and employers work together to make it happen?
Why Remote Work Works for Parents
A quick look at the FlexJobs survey data will tell you that clearly remote work works for parents, at least in some capacity. (And especially when there is childcare in place!)
But let’s break down WHY remote work works for parents. It’s not because these parents own stock in Zoom or really love sweatpants. (Although 66% of respondents did dig not having to put on pants with buttons on the regular.)
It’s because there are a whole bunch of reasons related to productivity, cost savings, and well-being. Those are things we should all take seriously – both employees and employers. Remote work isn’t a nice-to-have or a perk, it makes real business sense too. Win, win, win!
So, my working parent friend, if you need to convince your employer that a remote or hybrid work arrangement is the way to go in a post-pandemic world, lay out your argument using some of these reasons below. They make sense (and cents) and if we’re all making the ask, companies will need to to listen.
Starting with some Hootie and the Blowfish. “Tiiiiiiiiiiiime. Thinking about time.”
81% of working parents surveyed by FlexJobs said that remote work was appealing for the long term because there is very little traffic between their bedrooms and home offices/kitchens/closets where they take important phone calls.
The average American in non-pandemic times spent close to one hour commuting each day. That’s one less hour working, and one more hour stressing about work that needs to get done. One less hour with family, and one more hour scrambling to fit in quality time with your kids and then yelling because you’re stressed. We can do better than that and remote work is no magic wand, but it helps.
In addition, 70% of respondents noted time savings in general as a huge bonus of working from home as folks are noticing fewer meetings AND more efficient meetings while working remotely. How awesome is that? All that saved time can be poured back into businesses and into employee well-being.
Now let’s talk dollars and cents, and why employers should care about this.
73% of respondents to the FlexJobs survey cited that they were totally digging the cost savings they experienced by working from home. Not eating out, not buying gas, not paying for parking, and not going to the dry cleaner – all of that adds up.
(I mean personally, I wasn’t going to the dry cleaner pre-pandemic anyway because machine washable cotton dress pants and Febreze exist, but I digress.)
On top of that, 21% of working parents surveyed saved over $200 a week, which is $10,000 a year!
One more time for the people in the back – $10,000 A YEAR!
Employers – how much happier are your employees going to be with an extra $10,000 in their pockets that you did not even have to pay them? That’s a huge win right there.
Another big reason for a checkmark in the remote work column is that remote work allows for more time with family. 70% of respondents cited family time as an important factor for wanting remote work in their lives.
Before working remotely, I was out the door by 6:45am and didn’t get back with the kids in tow until 5:45. Then it was a whirlwind of dinner, showers, stories, and bed. Wash, rinse, repeat. Nowadays, I bring the kids to school at 8am, pick them up at 3pm and there’s very little rush in our lives.
Does that make life perfect? No, of course not. There are days I wish I could lock myself in an office and there are days where I wish I could lock myself out of it. But this work-life integration thing (or balance if you will) and flexibility do work and it’s great to see my kids in the daylight more often.
More good news for employers here – working from home makes employees more productive!
51% of working parents surveyed said that they were more productive while working remotely, it was quieter at home (when the kids were out of the house, obvi), and there were fewer distractions. (Again, that’s when kids were at school. Distractions ABOUND when the kids were home and needing snacks.)
What’s the takeaway here? Employers – if your employees have said they are more productive working from home and they have proven their productivity levels over the past year, please let them stay there!
If the option isn’t provided, you might have a lot of working parents packing up their succulents and moving on. In fact, 62% of working parents surveyed said they would quit their current jobs if they can’t work remotely. Wowza, that’s huge! Speaking for myself, if I wasn’t self-employed right now and had a full-time job that wanted me back in the office, I’d be in that 62%. For sure.
Health & Well-Being
One more reason employers should be looking seriously at long term remote work – working parents said that remote work allowed them more time to take care of themselves. 52% said remote work gave them time to cook healthier, exercise, and meditate.
Employers – do want your employees to be productive, healthy, and available to attend meetings instead of sick in bed because their bodies broke down with working parent stress? You could stock the office kitchen with apples, or let your employees eat apples at home. You could offer a gym on-site, or let your employees lace up their sneakers and go for a run around their neighborhood whenever works best for them.
If we’re goig to say that health and well-being of employees is important, extend the benefit that makes it happen.
Read More: Realistic Self-Care for Working Moms
Let’s Make Remote Work Happen for Working Parents (And Everyone)
We’ve spent this article touting the benefits of remote work, but it’s not all rainbows and butterflies. There are challenges with remote work too that we should address.
For some employees, working from home is really lonely, or more distracting, or difficult because of internet connections. For some employers offering in-person services, it simply doesn’t work. Or having employees scattered around might be hard on the office culture and could lead to breakdowns in communication if the right tools aren’t used in the right situation.
But this is my plea to employers who CAN make remote work work – give it a test run in post-pandemic life and consider hybrid options. Also, be open to different arrangements for different employees and take a hard look at old policies. Equity doesn’t need to look like the exact same schedule for every person. Equity can be making sure that the work is getting done well and everyone is doing their fair share, wherever they are.
And it’s my plea to working parents to make the ask. You’ve worked your buns off this past year juggling work and the cluster that was 2020 childcare. Now that we see a light at the end of the tunnel, give yourself credit for all you’ve accomplished and stand up for what you need (use this guide for help). The more of us who ask, the more working parents (and those without kids who prefer remote work) succeed.