Help Working Parents, Help Your Business

Young woman in foreground smiling at camera while her colleagues

On a fairly regular basis, somebody releases a study saying it’s in companies’ best interests to help out working parents. Monday, while on my way to check out preschools, I heard this tidbit on NPR’s “Marketplace Morning Report.” (Transcript follows)

BOB MOON: If you’re a parent, you worry. That’s your job. But it’s also interfering with your other job: putting food on the table. Now there’s a report that warns that’s costing American businesses. From the Work and Family Desk, Hillary Wicai reports.

HILLARY WICAI: A new survey of employees at several Fortune 100 companies shows working parents of kids in grades 6-12 especially stress about the safety and reliability of the after-school arrangements they’ve made for their kids. Brandeis University and the research organization Catalyst cite estimates that workplace stress can cost U.S. companies $50 to $300 billion each year. Nancy Carter is with Catalyst.

NANCY CARTER: This is a source of worker lost productivity that organizations can directly impact and they can do it in ways that are not costly to the company.

One way is for companies to give employees more control over their work schedule. Another is to encourage managers to be more understanding.

Hmmm… Flexibility! Understanding managers! Where have we heard about those before? What I especially like about this report is that it talks about working “parents.” Because working dads worry, too. Sometimes I think, instead of just heaping it all on working moms, we should shift the national discussion to working families–dads included. But that’s a topic for another post…

10 thoughts on “Help Working Parents, Help Your Business

  1. Sara, I also saw a Dec. 5 article about this same study in the New Jersey Star-Ledger, which said:

    “…the study data suggest women are far more likely to be affected, as nearly 80 percent of working mothers surveyed say they have primary responsibility for the children.”

    Not that that’s surprising news. But I do think it points to the fact that women shoulder more of the child-rearing burden, so flexibility at work is even more important for them.

    Which leads me to my next blog entry about Best Buy! Stay tuned…

  2. Ah, good point, Susan! Thanks for digging up the additional info!

  3. Oh! OH! (She said, bouncing in her chair like a character from Welcome Back Kotter) Except WHY do all those women have primary responsibility? I haven’t fully formed my thoughts on this, but it seems like a societal attitude shift is in order. Right now, we say to women, “You’ve got to figure out what to do with the kids, AND figure out how to contribute to the bottom line.” Maybe if we regarded more men as equally resonsible for the child rearing, the stress would be more equitably distributed…

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