Even prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, balancing a career with parenting was far from easy. In the wake of the pandemic, however, with remote learning continuing intermittently in many school districts across the United States, achieving such balance can seem nearly impossible.
The good news, though, is that employers now have more options than ever before to help employees with children. Among the most significant of these, perhaps, is the institution of a hybrid work model. But how, exactly, does a hybrid schedule benefit working parents (and the companies they work for)?
Perhaps the most obvious and most significant benefit of a hybrid work model is the effect on childcare. Parents who are able to work at home at least part of the time are relieved of the financial and logistical burden of trying to secure childcare while they are at work.
Given the fact that families can find themselves paying hundreds or even thousands of dollars each month for childcare, the opportunity to reduce or even eliminate those costs entirely can be invaluable. Indeed, enabling your employee to engage in a hybrid schedule may well mean that you are preventing turnover, avoiding the loss of an employee for whom the cost of full-time childcare may be almost as high as, if not higher than, their wages
Creating a Positive Work Environment
When working parents are allowed to engage in a hybrid work schedule, they’re inevitably going to feel more supported by their employer.
For example, new parents are likely to highly value the opportunity for fathers or partners to work from home while Mom is on maternity leave. This allows your employees to nurture a sense of emotional and psychological well-being during the critical bonding period that is the first year of their new baby’s life.
When you offer your employees options that recognize, validate, and accommodate their needs both personal and professional, you are creating the kind of positive environment that drives loyalty, engagement, and performance.
Boosting Retention and Productivity
As we’ve seen, the reduction in childcare costs due to a hybrid work schedule can enable working parents to remain on the job, rather than compelling them to quit for financial reasons. Thus, your employee won’t face the financial or professional consequences of career disruption.
Likewise, by offering a hybrid option, you’re inevitably significantly expanding your talent pool. By making remote work possible, you’re increasing the likelihood of attracting talented employees who might otherwise remove themselves from the labor force due to their caregiving responsibilities. That means that, when it comes to recruiting and retention, your company is going to enjoy a distinct advantage over those who don’t offer a hybrid option.
In addition, remote work also enables employees to be more productive, even when family responsibilities require them to remain at home. For example, if a child is sick, parents who can work remotely can stay home to take care of them while still doing productive work. This not only means that your employee won’t face the stress of trying to make up for a missed workday, but your company, and your team, won’t be required to play catch-up either!
The Best of Both Worlds
One of the most significant advantages of a hybrid model over a full-remote model is that it enables your workers to reap the benefits of the physical office environment while still allowing for the flexibility working parents need.
Studies have shown, for example, that those who work remotely all of the time are at a higher risk for depression and anxiety. A hybrid schedule allows workers to regularly engage with their colleagues face-to-face, preventing the sense of isolation and loneliness that fully remote workers may experience.
Once again, this links to the use of a hybrid model to support employees’ overall well-being. The flexibility of the model maximizes the employee’s emotional, psychological, and social support, which can decrease the risk of burnout while increasing engagement and motivation.
Best of all, even as your company enjoys the benefits of a more productive and happier employee, you are also simultaneously cultivating a corporate culture that supports recruiting and retention. Research has shown, for example, that the overwhelming majority of workers want flexible or hybrid work options more than any other perk.
The battle to recruit and retain the best talent is perhaps more fierce than ever before. In the new normal of our post-pandemic era, this effort can be especially challenging when it comes to hiring and holding on to employees who are also parents. A hybrid work model, however, can be ideal for working parents, offering an array of benefits for the employees and their employer. Offering a hybrid model saves working parents money, supports their emotional and psychological well-being, and promotes their retention and productivity. For employers, a hybrid model significantly increases the talent pool, reduces turnover, facilitates recruiting, and creates a highly positive company culture.