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Working Parents Navigating the Workplace ‘New Normal’

A large part of the employee population looking for alternative jobs and/or leaving the workplace entirely during this ‘Great Resignation’ are working parents.

As the COVID-19 pandemic begins to ease and employers are bringing employees back to the office on a regular basis, working parents are often left to figure out how to balance an office return and childcare. Since the pandemic, many childcare centers have closed, downsized, and/or increased pricing, making it harder for families to find and afford full-time childcare. On top of this, many working parents are facing burnout from trying to balance working a full-time job, caring for their children and/or guiding their children during virtual schooling. This opens an opportunity for employers to review their workplace policies and rethink their culture and flexibility options to help them retain top talent.


Many organizations either do not have clear policies on workplace flexibility and/or remote work, or their policies are not inclusive. If employers do not have remote or hybrid work policies in place, it can lead to confusion around expectations and what may or may not be permitted in terms of remote or hybrid work. This can also lead to inconsistency and inequality in how these situations are handled.

If such policies are in place, employers are encouraged to take this opportunity to review their policies to ensure they are clear, fair, and inclusive for all types of employees. Doing so will provide additional support to caregivers and take some of the burden off them from having to ask for allowances or exceptions, leading to increased employee satisfaction.

Rethink Culture, Workplaces and Flexibility

Many working parents shy away from asking for alternative working schedules as they do not want to forgo facetime in the office. They feel doing so will make them appear disengaged and will jeopardize their eligibility for advancement within the organization. As such, employers need to ensure the workplace culture is one of inclusivity, understanding, and flexibility – and this starts at the top.

Employees should be encouraged to practice a solid work-life balance. Managers should be taught to maintain an open dialogue with employees about work demands and personal concerns to encourage open, comfortable, and productive work environments. An example of a simple change that can be made is making a conscious effort to schedule meetings outside of school drop off and pick up times. This can help working parents in managing their schedules to allow them to care for their children and still be a part of critical meetings without having to ask for time off or allowances.

Retain Top Talent

Implementing the above-mentioned suggestions may assist in retaining and motivating working parents. Employers should also consider implementing additional resources for working parents, including Employee Assistance Programs (EAP), mental health days, childcare assistance, and workgroups for parents to have an avenue to discuss obstacles they are facing and share ideas and suggestions on how to handle workload and childcare in this new environment.

Another recommendation employers can consider is to conduct an Employee Satisfaction Survey. This can provide valuable insight into how employees are feeling and allow them an opportunity to give suggestions on what might improve their work-life balance and reduce stress and burnout.

Employers should also be aware of affording the same considerations and opportunities to those employees who choose remote/hybrid work opportunities and those who do not. When it comes time to assign new projects and evaluate employees for promotions, specific and objective criteria should be set and considered for all employees – not just those management has physically seen recently. Additionally, employers should work to set targets for diversity and retention of diverse leadership at all levels within the organization.

Wondering how your organization can come out on top during the Great Reshuffle? Visit OneDigital’s Retention Reset Hub to learn more.