It’s no longer a secret that juggling the demands of work and domestic life was a pre-existing issue worsened by daycare, school, and office closures brought on by the pandemic. And the reality is, the pandemic will subside, but workers’ care responsibilities won’t.
Care.com — the world’s largest online platform to find care for children, pets, and seniors —released its latest installment of research on the intersection of care and work, evolving from their Work + Life Report, released in February 2020, detailing the choice between family and career has had significant consequences for both workers and employers, and their Future of Benefits Report, released in February 2021, sharing the benefits employers are newly prioritizing as a response to the pandemic’s impact on work. Their next piece of research, titled The Workplace Culture and Care Report, reveals whether these changes were temporary solutions to address the global health crisis or a permanent, seismic shift in workplace culture going forward.
Pre-pandemic, the Work + Life Report showed 73 percent of respondents felt they’d let down someone who needed their care due to work obligations.
Employers felt the brunt of this as a result. In the last decade, lost productivity due to informal caregiving for children and the elderly, including absenteeism, workday adjustments, and more cost U.S. businesses $82.2 billion annually.
Fast forward to COVID-19, workers and employers have been grappling with more work-life challenges. The global pandemic forced rapid and massive change as employers tried to accommodate remote workers, including many workers who are simultaneously working and parenting full-time.
To see how employers were readjusting their benefits packages to better accommodate the new way in which we all work, Care.com’s Future of Benefits Report found 50 percent said their organization planned to newly offer or expand childcare benefits and 42 percent planned to do the same with senior care benefits in the near future. Additionally, 41 percent of HR leaders planned to expand mental health benefits in the coming year.
“Employers simply must play a role in supporting their employees far beyond salaries,” says Natalie Mayslich, general manager of consumer and enterprise at Care.com, calling this, “the rise of the ‘caring enterprise,’ where HR and business leaders no longer simply measure how well they support their employees but put services in place to make sure that they’re truly keeping their teams’ welfare in mind.”
Employee satisfaction, retention, and attrition
When you lead with empathy and compassion for employees, a company culture thrives. To better understand the relationship between workplace satisfaction and cultures that successfully demonstrated caring and empathy, The Workplace Culture and Care Report surveyed 500 HR leaders and 2,000 full-time American workers.
The report finds that majority of employees — 52 percent — rank “nurturing, supportive, and empathetic” or “family-friendly” as workplaces they most desire. And not only are these types of work environments the ones employees desire, but they also actively seek them as well. Forty-five percent said that “family support” is an attribute that they actively look for in a workplace culture.
The good news is that employers are increasingly recognizing this evolving relationship between family-friendly benefits and a successful work environment, but the report finds there’s still progress to be made.
“Our new research reveals that 63 percent of employers say childcare benefits would improve recruitment and retention, yet only 19 percent offer them,” says Mayslich. “Put simply, when you care for your employees holistically, they’ll stay, and new talent will be eager to join your team. It’s a win-win for employers and employees, both current and prospective.
She says the benefits and work environments seen this year, “must be a fundamental, permanent shift in how we address the needs and wants of today’s worker, and it must be supported from the C-suite on down.”
To learn more, visit care.com/careatwork.