There’s no denying the outsized impact COVID-19 has had (and is continuing to have) on the world. From companies extending or permanently shifting to remote work to how we shop and interact with each other, we’re facing a lot of uncertainty.
And, of course, the pandemic has had a massive impact on education. From preschool to graduate school, how and where we learn has changed, at least for now. With remote learning becoming standard for some, parents are taking a more hands-on approach to their children’s education.
Since the spring, when schools across the country shut down and shifted to remote learning, families have had to figure out how to navigate e-learning on the fly. Working parents have also had to balance online learning with suddenly transitioning to remote work.
To better understand the impact of COVID-19 on working parents, FlexJobs surveyed more than 2,500 working parents with children under 18 living at home. We asked about the career choices they’ve had to make, how remote learning is impacting their choices, and what kind of support they would like from their employers.
Our survey found that 40% of working parents had to make changes to their jobs. Unfortunately, for 25%, that meant voluntarily reducing their hours, and for 15%, this meant quitting their jobs. An additional 5% said their partner reduced their hours or quit their job. Of those who quit their jobs, 38% said they do not plan to rejoin the workforce.
The impact of the pandemic on working mothers versus working fathers has been uneven. When schools shut down, 63% of working mothers report they primarily handled childcare duties, while 42% of working fathers reported the same. Additionally, 80% of working mothers said they took the lead on remote learning versus 31% of working fathers.
Though 43% of working mothers said their employment status had remained the same during the pandemic, 17% quit their jobs. However, 51% of working fathers said their employment was the same, and only 10% had quit their jobs.
The Ongoing Impact of COVID-19
With no firm end date in sight, the pandemic continues to have an outsized impact on future plans. When asked what working parents plan to do if remote learning continues for the entire school year, 50% said that they would keep working while taking care of the kids.
However, to manage work and childcare, 22% of respondents said they would have to request full-time work-from-home status, while 7% said they or their partner would have to quit their jobs. Another 21% said they would have to pay for additional childcare.
Finding a way to balance a career and kids has always been a challenge—even more so during the pandemic. When asked what would help parents balance work with childcare responsibilities, nearly two thirds (58%) said that a flexible schedule would have the most positive impact.
When asked what types of flexibility they would most benefit from, parents mentioned the following:
- Working from home full-time (48%)
- Working from home part-time (30%)
- Freelancing (24%)
- Alternative schedules (20%)
Furthermore, the most important factors working parents consider when evaluating a job prospect are:
- Work-life balance (79%)
- Salary (77%)
- Flexible work options (73%)
Tips for Making the Most of the Situation
Regardless of the challenges the pandemic has created for working parents, 49% of working mothers and 50% of working fathers say that they’ve been more productive working at home during the pandemic than when they worked in the office.
To help you be more productive when working at home with kids (or roommates, or pets!), here are some tips:
A crucial yet often overlooked component of successfully working from home is communication. It’s easy to forget about coworkers and bosses when you work virtually. After all, out of sight can lead to out of mind. But it’s more important than ever to keep your boss and coworkers updated on your work, your schedule, and how you’re balancing everything now that school’s back in session. Keep everyone in the loop with frequent email updates and make all of your communications clear, concise, and intentional.
Flexibility Can Encourage Balance
When companies and schools across the country moved online in the spring, many assumed it would last for a few weeks, then everything would be “business as usual.” Coronavirus had other plans, but the last six months have shown us all how flexible and adaptable we can be, and will be, for as long as it takes.
For more advice on balancing the pandemic with your career, check out our resources for navigating coronavirus, work, and everything else. To get tips like these sent to your inbox, sign up for our newsletter. You’ll get tips and tricks, fresh job postings, and so much more!
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