UK parents find planning work and childcare more stressful than ever before

New ways of working are throwing childcare plans into chaos and placing new pressures on families, according to flexible childcare booking platform, Pebble.

Research amongst 1,000 working parents of young children* finds that 71% have transitioned to hybrid or fully-remote working since the COVID 19 pandemic, and are finding it harder to plan their work and life as a result. One in four (25%) say that their work schedule is now less predictable, and the same number (25%) agree that they’re juggling changing commitments more than ever before – and are working longer days as a result.

Arranging childcare, something many parents struggled with prior to the pandemic, is now taking a significant toll on their mental wellbeing. Over half (55%) find planning work and childcare far more stressful than ever before, 49% have woken up in the night worrying about childcare, and 59% say that unplanned or short notice meetings now cause them anxiety due to their impact on childcare plans. Overall, 58% are more anxious about their ability to juggle career and caring commitments.

Thanks to unpredictable working schedules, almost half (47%) of parents find themselves looking for ad hoc childcare solutions far more frequently. Close to two thirds (60%) now need a last minute** childcare fix one or more times a week, and one in five (19%) need one at least three times.

There are indications that this last-minute lifestyle, which many parents have no choice over, is causing fractions within family units. Almost a third (30%) of those surveyed have asked a partner to call into work sick so that they can look after the child/children — a request unlikely to benefit their partners’ career, or their relationship.

While paid childcare offers a way to alleviate the strain, parents are being frustrated by rigid services that do not meet their new needs. While 49% of parents now often plan childcare the night before they need it, just one in five (21%) are able to book a nursery slot with less than two days’ notice. This disconnect is keenly felt by parents, who feel that existing childcare models are no longer fit-for-purpose (46%) and would like nurseries to be more flexible (70%).

Lance Beare, chief exec, Pebble commented:

‘The mass transition to remote and hybrid working has been heralded as a great thing for working parents, helping them access a whole new world of work-life balance — but this isn’t the picture our research paints. We’re seeing parents that are more stressed out than ever before because, while ways of working have changed, the support structures they rely on have not. Pebble has been developed to help nurseries make the transition to flexible childcare, a model that will better support parents by enabling them to access the trusted care they need, when they need it.’



Date Published: December 15, 2021