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HR ManagersCOVID-19
Mon May 18 2020 00:00:00 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)

Working Parents Are Feeling the Strain

In a recent Cleo member survey, more than 50% of respondents said they were without childcare, and that either one or both parents were sharing childcare responsibilities. It’s no surprise then that 52% feel that their productivity is 75% or less than usual, and that 25% feel that their productivity is less than 50% of usual. Even before COVID-19, parents struggled in returning to work, with 31% saying that emotional/mental wellness was their biggest challenge.

Now, as working parents prepare to return to work after working from home, mounting concerns associated with child care, children’s school transitions, financial stability, changing birth and postpartum plans, and more, are creating additional stress and worry, leading to short- and long-term mental health consequences. “In fact, 74% of U.S. mothers say they feel mentally worse since the pandemic began, according to a survey by motherhood lifestyle brand Motherly as reported by CNBC. The report, which gathered responses from more than 3,000 millennial moms between March 9 and April 23, found that 97% of moms between the ages of 24 and 39 say they feel burned out at least some of the time, with the pandemic only making things worse.”

That’s in stark contrast to previous research. “In 2018, parents were actually less likely to be experiencing mental distress than those without children. But by the end of April 2020, parents were more likely to be in distress than their childless peers,” according to a study by San Diego State University Professor of Psychology Jean Twenge.

Easing the Burden

So, what can employers do to ease the burden and help support the mental health of their working parents? Addressing everyday challenges and struggles is a good start:

  • Offer childcare options so parents can be assured their children are safely looked after, allowing them to focus on their work instead of worrying about balancing work and life.
  • Offer family benefits that include mental health support so working parents can access care when they need it as they need it.
  • Stay up to date on best practices and guidance. Towards that end, we invite People Leaders to join us for a webinar on Thursday, May 21, at 11:00 a.m. PT.

Experts from Cleo and Lyra Health will be on hand to discuss how to help working parents and their families cope with stress and anxiety as they prepare for the uncertain weeks and months ahead. Our panel includes Renee Schneider, Ph.D., VP of Clinical Quality, Lyra Health, Rebekah Wheeler, MPH, Certified Nurse Midwife & Lead Cleo Guide, Cleo, and Amy Tucker, Perinatal Mental Health Specialist and Cleo Guide, Cleo. Register today to receive specific tips on how to support expecting parents and parents with young children and help them navigate their children's emotional needs during this pandemic and the transition back to school.


We’d love to show you how Cleo can help support your working families with 1:1 guidance from trusted experts, evidence-based programs that drive results, and a personalized app with every family benefit in one place. Please register for a demo today.