The Work-life Balance Problem
Work-life balance is often talked about as the act of juggling time spent at work versus time devoted to personal matters. But this pits the two against each other. It leaves us feeling guilty that we aren’t doing either very well and can have a negative effect on emotional wellbeing and for many of us, overall family wellness.
It’s not work versus life.
Work is a part of life. Albeit, an important one. A third of our lives are spent working. But we are more than just employees. We are daughters, sons, friends, neighbors, and parents. These roles are important to who we are and how we spend our lives.
Working parents, specifically, have to fill both the role of employee and caretaker at the same time. One role does not end when the other begins.
Working Parents Woes
For working parents, children are the number one priority. And with nearly 1 in 5 children having a mental, emotional, or behavioral disorder, children’s mental health has become a national emergency that must be addressed.
- 77% of parents are often or sometimes thinking about their child’s mental health.
- 50% of working parents are losing significant productivity in caring for their child’s behavioral health.
- In a recent study, 32% of working parents changed or quit their jobs in the past two years because of their child’s mental health.
It’s no surprise that working parents feel overwhelmed which can negatively impact overall family wellbeing. When your child is struggling, your whole world stops. It becomes impossible to be present on calls, productive for meetings, and positive during your day-to-day interactions.
But thankfully, there are solutions.
Employers can invest in their working parents by creating company policies and providing benefits that address their struggles and their priorities – as both employees and caretakers. When that happens, work isn’t part of the problem, it becomes part of the solution. This leads to employees who feel supported and can be more productive and present at work.
Here are three ways that employers can support their working parents and improve family wellness:
Provide opportunities for formal and informal feedback for your working parents on what is and isn’t working with schedules, priorities, and responsibilities. Employees value transparency, candor, and opportunities to have their voices heard. An internal survey or anonymous feedback form can be a helpful way for working parents to share concerns and constructive ideas without fear of consequences and backlash.
Whether it’s where you work or what hours you work – providing flexibility to working parents shows that you value their lives as working parents. You want employees who can be present while they work, and if that means they do their best work once their kids are tucked in bed, so be it!
3. Family wellness benefits
Over the last few years, we have seen family wellness benefits move from the ‘nice to have’ to the ‘need to have’ bucket. Family wellness benefits acknowledge that employees are more than workers, they have families and households – and that is more than a full-time job on its own.
At Mightier, we believe all families deserve pediatric mental health care. Our clinically validated, play-based digital therapy program provides families with mental health support from the comfort of their homes. 87% of families whose children use Mightier see behavior improvement in 3 months, and 73% of families whose children use Mightier reported less conflict with their kids.
To learn more about Mightier as a family wellness benefit, click here.
Moving towards a work-life blend
Let’s reframe the concept of work-life balance as a work-life blend. When workplaces establish policies focused on family wellness, employees (and their families) feel supported through their work to live happy, healthy, full lives.