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Working parents’ mental load is leading to talent drain in the workplace

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A new report from BlckBx – a personal assistant platform for working parents and carers – has highlighted the extent of domestic admin and the mental load that working parents are having to manage every day. And consequently, the impact of this on their career and workplace experience.

Parents spend almost two working days on family admin every week

According to BlckBx’s report, both working mothers and fathers are feeling the strain of juggling domestic, caring and working responsibilities. Across all of those surveyed, the average amount of time spent on housework, coordinating childcare, helping with homework, planning and cooking meals, doing the school or nursery run, planning weekend activities, and looking after elderly parents were 15.2 hours per week.

For a parent in full-time employment, that means almost a seven-day working week. 

Career ambitions take a back seat

It’s a simple fact that having children impacts workers’ experience at work.

  • Over six in 10 (63%) working parents say that having children has affected their career path
  • Over four in 10 (45%) say they feel less professionally confident at work since having children (rising to 48% for mothers)
  • More than a third (38%) say they are less likely to reach the position they had previously aspired to, whilst 23% say it will take them longer to reach that position 

Thinking about the impact on working parents’ mental health:

  • Almost six in 10 (59%) feel being a working parent puts a strain on their mental health
  • 51% struggle to be mentally present at work
  • 52% regularly have to catch up with their work in the evenings and weekends, because of time getting eaten by family and household admin

It’s no surprise, then, that another 32,000 people had to drop out of the workforce to look after family/home in 2022 (now totalling almost a fifth of those classed as economically inactive). 

In lieu of government support, businesses implored to offer more direct help to working parents

Working parents believe businesses are doing more to support them than the current government, with 89% of working parents saying they feel supported by their employers. 

However, more needs to be done to reverse the number of people dropping out of the workforce to care for their families.

Kath Clarke, founder and CEO of BlckBx, says: “Businesses are 10 steps ahead of the government in what they can offer working parents. But we need business leaders to be more flexible, innovative and proactive in supporting this specific group of workers.”

“BlckBx was created as a way for businesses to help these employees to manage and navigate the multitude of demands on their time and energy with greater ease. The return of investment for businesses is a diverse and dynamic workforce and the unlocking of a huge pool of exceptional talent.” 

Ways in which BlckBx advises businesses to support working parents include:

  1. Support flexible working beyond remote working, through hybrid working, rethinking job design (such as role sharing) and simply informal flexibility
  2. Train managers to support working parents through the transition back into work and reduce unconscious biases towards working mothers in particular
  3. Build awareness of the mental load of parenting in order to create a more understanding culture and invest in day-to-day practical support for families
  4. Create support networks for open conversation and allyship around the challenges of working parenthood
  5. Set the tone from the top with examples of working mothers in leadership who are unashamedly taking time out of work to attend parents’ evenings etc.

Kath Clarke concludes: “Working parents shouldn’t need to choose between having a fulfilling family life and a fulfilling career. The shape of working families is changing and many institutions need to realise that and catch up.”

“Employers can make the difference in creating a future of work that fits the lives of working families and works in the interest of the business, building a system that works for everybody.”

Read the full article here

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