Two in five parents working from home finding stress of homeschooling difficult, survey shows
Parents juggling work alongside homeschooling are spending on average 10 hours a week catching up on work after their children have gone to bed, research by Canada Life has revealed.
According to the survey, two fifths (39%) of working UK adults are teaching their children while balancing full time jobs. On average, 15 hours a week (three hours a day) are being spent as teacher (41%), leaving 17 hours and a half (three and a half hours a day) for work during office hours (47%).
The research, which included 2000 working adults with children of school age, found homeschooling partners to be spending on average two hours a day catching up on work out of office hours.
Four in 10 workers who are homeschooling (41%) admit that the stress of balancing this is becoming difficult.
Interestingly, more than a third (35%) want their working patterns to stay the same once lockdown restrictions have been lifted; only a quarter (26%) want to return to a physical workplace, compared to 32% who want to work from home more often.
The research also polled 500 SME decision makers and found that employers have mostly been quick to accommodate parents.
As many as 87% of parents said their employer has introduced supportive measures during the lockdown. These include flexible hours (24%), reducing parents' workplace responsibilities (19%), cutting back the number of meetings parents have to attend (17%) and implementing role sharing between colleagues (10%) where possible.
One in four (36%) SME decision makers were homeschooling children themselves and the majority (84%) were found to have introduced flexible measures for their own staff (84%) compared to just 34% of those who weren't.
Overall, two thirds (67%) of employers said they think the measures they've introduced are sufficient, while a fifth (20%) were still planning to do more. One in 10 (9%) know that they haven't done enough to support working parents, but can't do anything else; this is higher among those who aren't homeschooling (14%) than those who are (6%).
Paul Avis, Canada Life group insurance marketing director, said: "No one could have predicted at the start of the year that parents across the country would be balancing the pressure of full-time jobs with homeschooling their children. It's a really stressful time for everyone, but parents with young children have been particularly affected. It's really positive that employers are taking their responsibilities seriously and supporting staff playing the role of parent, teacher, and employee.
Avis added that group protection policies are likely to offer a range of support services parents could take advantage of alongside their cover.
He continued: "Words like ‘unprecedented' have probably been overused, but having researched the many issues with our current working practices over the years, I believe that out of this adverse situation, a beneficial outcome is on the horizon, with working from home and work-life balance now being recognised by employers as a good thing."
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