WALTHAM, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--American workers say they are letting both their families and employers down due to poor work-life balance, and value family-friendly benefits over flashier, costlier work perks, according to findings of the Work + Life Report, a research study released today by Care.com. Conducted as the first effects of the novel COVID-19 pandemic swept across America, the survey asked 1,254 full-time American workers how family-friendly benefits, like backup childcare, affect employee productivity, recruitment, retention, and attrition, as well as how they influence what brands or stores consumers favor.
In the best of times, families struggle to balance work with caring for children and elderly family members. Over the past decade, the cost to U.S. businesses in lost productivity due to care-related absenteeism, distraction, adjustments and turnover was in the multi-billions annually. Yet, before the current COVID-19 crisis, employers at large were still slow to register the full impact of care issues in the workplace or to respond to demands of employees for more support.
“What the COVID-19 pandemic has so brutally revealed is that a sustainable balance between work and family life is crucial for both personal and economic well-being,” said Scott Healy, executive vice president and general manager of Care@Work, Care.com’s enterprise solution for employers. “American workers, both as employees and consumers, choose whom to work for and whom to buy from based on how companies treat their workforce, and the Work + Life Report shows that family-friendly benefits are among the key criteria on which companies are being judged.”
Across all respondents, from Gen Z to Baby Boomers, both salaried and hourly, male and female, family care benefits ranked highly as a reason to stay at a current job or pursue a new one. Flexibility, paid family leave, and subsidized backup childcare all ranked above commuter benefits, student loan assistance and tuition reimbursement, and half of respondents even said that a company’s offering family-friendly benefits is important when choosing an employer—whether they personally need the benefit or not.
The report also shows that for many American workers, a care crisis was already in full swing before the current pandemic hit. While 86% of respondents said they’ve had to stay home from work to care for a family member at least a few times per year, more than half (53%) said it’s happened as often as once per week. Another 53% said they’ve arrived late or left early up to once a week because a family member needed care, with 83% saying it happened at least a few times per year. And 63% said that care issues forced them to cut back on their regular hours – a number that climbs to 70% among those who care for an elderly family member.
These care responsibilities — and the failure of employers to help navigate them — are leading employees to feel that they’re failing at work and at home. Almost half (47%) said they’ve missed family events due to work as often as once per week. Another 73% said they occasionally feel like they’re letting down the people who need their care, with 52% saying they feel that way as often as once a week. And 72% said they’ve had to scramble to find someone else to care for a family member at the last minute. But making sacrifices at home isn’t necessarily making them better workers. A full 80% of respondents admitted they’ve felt distracted at work, 66% said their job performance has suffered, and 62% have missed a meeting or deadline due to family responsibilities.
This growing reality about work-life integration challenges extends beyond work; it’s also shaping consumer behavior. The research found that employees see family-friendly benefits as a prime marker of socially responsible companies – a quality that influences both job seekers and consumers. 83% of respondents agreed offering family-friendly benefits like paid leave or backup care match the definition of a socially responsible company, ranking above sustainability programs, and 84% said treating workers well is important in helping them decide which brand or store to buy from.
To access the complete report, please visit https://workplace.care.com/work-life-report-2020.
The Work + Life Report Methodology:
In the month of February 2020, the Work + Life Report captured responses from 1,254 U.S. residents across a wide array of industries, all of whom work enough hours to be eligible for employer benefits.
Available in more than 20 countries, Care.com is the world’s leading platform for finding and managing high-quality family care. Care.com is designed to meet the evolving needs of today’s families and caregivers, offering everything from household tax and payroll services and customized corporate benefits packages covering the care needs of working families, to innovating new ways for caregivers to be paid and obtain professional benefits. Since 2007, families have relied on Care.com’s industry-leading products—from child and elder care to pet care and home care. Care.com is an IAC company (NASDAQ: IAC).