25 Oct 2023

Parents Considering Leaving Over Office Work


In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the traditional landscape of work has undergone a huge shift. Remote work became the norm, blurring the lines between personal and professional life with hybrid working almost tripling. A survey conducted by Unispace shows that of 3,000 office workers, 63% now work in a hybrid setting[i]. For many parents, this transition was a mixed bag of blessings and challenges. As offices gradually reopen, some parents are finding themselves at a crossroads, contemplating a difficult decision: should they return to the office or leave their job if remote work is not an option? Let’s explore the reasons behind this dilemma and provide insights for both employers and parents navigating this new reality.

Remote work proved to be a game-changer for many parents. It offered the flexibility to juggle childcare responsibilities, school commitments, and household duties without sacrificing their professional growth. The reduction in commute time provided precious moments back into their day, fostering a healthier work-life balance.

A recent study reveals that parents with children in nursery and primary school are grappling with over £600 in additional childcare expenses every month. This financial burden arises as employers insist on more in-office workdays. According to a survey conducted by flexible childcare provider Pebble, over fifty per cent of parents reported experiencing growing pressure to extend their time spent at their desks.

As offices started to reopen, parents are faced with a crucial decision. Some fear that the return to in-person work will disrupt the harmony they’ve found while working from home. The prospect of re-establishing routines, finding reliable childcare, and managing the commute is daunting, especially when they’ve experienced a more flexible and accommodating work environment. 

The return to office-based work can disrupt the carefully crafted work-life balance parents have achieved during the remote work era. Balancing work commitments with school drop-offs, pick-ups, extracurricular activities, and family time becomes more challenging. Parents may find themselves yearning for the flexibility they once had.

One of the most pressing concerns for parents contemplating a return to the office is childcare. Reliable and affordable childcare options are not always readily available, and many parents are rightfully concerned about the well-being and safety of their children. For some, the absence of a remote work option may force them to make difficult choices.

Employers should recognise that offering flexibility in work arrangements is not just a perk; it’s a strategic move. Studies have shown that employees who have the autonomy to choose their work environment are more productive, engaged, and loyal. By accommodating parents’ needs for flexibility, employers can retain valuable talent and foster a positive work culture.

Effective communication between employers and employees is crucial during this transitional phase. Employers should engage in open dialogues with parents to understand their concerns, needs, and preferences. Together, they can explore hybrid work models that strike a balance between in-person collaboration and remote work.

For parents, leaving a job is a last resort. They value their careers, but they also cherish their roles as parents. Employers must recognise this delicate balance and work towards solutions that benefit both parties. A hybrid work model may be the answer where employees split their time between the office and home.

In the ever-changing landscape of work, with remote work becoming integral to professionals’ lives, technology is a key player in this transition. Activ People HR software is a valuable solution, empowering managers to track employee presence seamlessly in hybrid work models. It provides real-time insights into attendance, simplifying scheduling and fostering efficient communication. As organisations navigate the post-pandemic work environment, solutions like Activ People HR bridge the gap between traditional and remote work, supporting both career growth and family responsibilities.

The decision for parents to leave their jobs if remote work is not offered is not taken lightly. It reflects the complex interplay between professional ambitions and family responsibilities. Employers must adapt to this new reality by offering flexible work arrangements that accommodate the diverse needs of their workforce. By doing so, they not only retain valuable talent but also contribute to a more inclusive and understanding work culture. Together, parents and employers can forge a path forward that allows both career success and family fulfilment to thrive.

[i] HR News. [2022]. Hybrid working has almost tripled, but staff want more flexibility in the office. Available at: https://hrnews.co.uk/hybrid-working-has-almost-tripled-but-staff-want-more-flexibility-in-the-office/