As an employer or HR decision-maker, the process of adding childcare to an employee’s benefits package can sometimes …
Many employers are offering work-from-home options to attract top talent. It’s a great way for individuals with families, who need additional flexibility, to continue their careers. But employers new to offering remote work or hybrid flexibility positions may ask themselves, do those workers even need support when it comes to childcare? (Spoiler alert: They do.)
This can be tricky territory for any employee to navigate. Imagine working from home with a child running up and down the halls. Or two or three kids loitering around, craving attention, constantly demanding more snacks. You can pretty much throw your productivity out the window.
Working parents with remote jobs know this daunting reality all too well. Without steady childcare, it’s nearly impossible to get your work done. Period.
Many of us are familiar with the pandemic-era clips of toddlers crashing their parents’ Zoom meetings — but behind the levity lies a stressful, persistent strain on working families going on constantly when the laptop camera is turned off.
By now we know the advantages of offering childcare benefits programs at your organization. But there’s a question we often hear at Upwards: Should these types of programs cover remote employees?
Less than 10% of employers offer childcare benefits. Less than 10%! That may help explain why questions like this persist. We recently debunked a number of the top myths about childcare benefits, including the one about remote employees not needing childcare benefits.
Workers who are 100% remote or have hybrid work-from-home flexibility do need help with childcare, just like their on-site counterparts. Let’s explore why this matters.
Remote employees, but not remotely free of childcare responsibilities
If a worker lands a plum role that is 100% remote, they might think they have it made. But if they’re a working parent, a childcare solution must still be found to make the most of their new job and care for their family simultaneously.
Parents who have to balance working from home with daily childcare pressures are often left feeling overwhelmed and not as productive as they’d like in both arenas, job and family. While there are ways to try to mitigate the challenges, navigating this balancing act is not for the faint of heart.
There are certainly positives and perks to working from home. Some of these include:
- erasing time-consuming commutes
- having more time with family and friends; and
- striving for a healthier work-life balance.
Remote employees without reliable childcare, however, struggle to enjoy the advantages of this arrangement. They are juggling taking care of their kids while being on the clock and accountable to their employers. Their responsibilities as a parent don’t stop once they’ve logged in to their laptop for the day.
If improving productivity is important for your organization, employee childcare benefits matter. If combating absenteeism is on your radar, childcare benefits matter. If improving employee retention and hiring is one of your goals, well, you get the idea. Might want to look into implementing an employer-sponsored childcare benefits program.
Otherwise, the prospect of remote workers without childcare support is basically setting up these employees to fail. It will also end up costing everyone in the long run.
Who’s watching the kids when parents are working?
As an employer, you may be monitoring your remote employees’ productivity, benchmarks, and growth. At the same time, they are splitting their focus between that big project with a hard deadline and making sure their child has what they need at any given moment.
When young children are at home, your remote parents on the team still need support with childcare. This may be in the form of a babysitter or nanny. With a caregiver watching the kids, employees can better focus on the job task at hand and be more productive throughout the workday.
For working parents with school-age children, they’ll still need someone to pick up the kids from school and bring them home or take them to their childcare provider. As parents who work remotely know only too well, their meetings, calls, deadlines, and projects do not end in the middle of the afternoon, like the school day.
Having childcare benefits allows these busy parents to navigate their daily work routines more smoothly, without the unpredictable disruptions that having kids roaming around the house inherently brings.
Childcare benefits benefit everyone, especially children
At the end of the day, these issues go beyond working parents and their employers. A childcare benefits program supports families with finding suitable childcare, which directly helps employees’ children and their futures.
With the right caregiver in place, kids are in a more structured environment and there is better, more consistent supervision to make sure they are as safe as possible at all times.
Parents working remotely may want to provide this type of environment and supervision for their children themselves, but it’s simply not realistic. They cannot fully engage with their child while simultaneously leading that important conference call, writing code, or putting together that new slide deck due by end of day.
Another advantage of employees using childcare benefits to figure out the best caregiving situation for their child is that this often leads to more social interaction with other children. This is a crucial element to their development, as well as social and emotional learning.
We will continue to analyze more questions here to provide clarity on the childcare-as-a-benefit topics that employers and employees care about.
Upwards provides childcare benefits to remote and on-site employees
Ultimately, the employer-sponsored childcare benefits you offer are only as good as the company that is delivering them to your employees.
Upwards is the largest network of childcare providers in America and a market leader in employee childcare benefits. Our childcare network is comprised of over 6,000 licensed home daycare providers, together with an additional 50,000+ nannies and babysitters.
These qualified, vetted caregivers offer the high-quality, affordable childcare that working families need. Flexible schedules, small class sizes, and the ability to care for school-aged children are just some of the features of our network.
Upwards has developed multiple employee childcare benefits programs for businesses in every industry. Childcare assistance helps working parents locate, access, and enroll with an affordable, high-quality childcare provider who fits their family’s needs. We offer full and partial stipends which can be used to offset the high childcare costs incurred by employees. Our backup care program helps ensure your workers still have care when there is an emergency or their childcare plans change at the last minute.
Whether you have a 100% remote workforce, a fully on-site team, or any kind of hybrid model in between, Upwards can help you assess the childcare needs of your employee population to find the best childcare benefits program for your organization.
Help your employees working from home turn their impossible situation into the most productive remote work environment in their neighborhood.
The largest childcare network in the United States, providing access to quality, affordable childcare to families nationwide. We support childcare providers in operating sustainable businesses through a technology-based marketplace and partner with government entities to improve access to care. Upwards also helps employers of all sizes offer their employees childcare benefits. Our mission is to help all families care for their children — not just those who can afford it.