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Parent Loudly: Supporting Your Employees’ “Second Shift”

Parent Loudly: Supporting Your Employees’ “Second Shift”
Posted on Friday, October 18, 2019 by Businessolver Team
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Half of your workforce risks burnout, thanks in large part to the additional stressors they face after work while caring for their families. 

supporting-working-mothers

Putting a meal on the table, picking kids up from school, taking elderly parents to doctor’s appointments. Daily responsibilities like these can feel like a full-time job, albeit “after hours” and most certainly unpaid.  

More often than not, the burden tends to fall on women. Consider these statistics:

  • 70% of moms with kids younger than 18 are in the US labor force
  • Mothers are the primary or sole breadwinners in 40% of U.S. households with children under 18
  • Among the 12% of parents also providing unpaid care for an adult, moms spend more time than dads on caregiving activities

It’s no wonder women are more likely than men to suffer from work-related burnout. Their lives are chock-full of professional and familial demands that can easily take precedence over the self-care required to feel (and perform) their best. As a result of this extra load borne by women, it’s almost impossible to exercise, eat well and sleep soundly without the right tools, resources and support.

Women and well-being
More than ever, organizations are concerned about the health and well-being of their employees—a concern that stretches beyond the costs of healthcare. Not only does the “employee experience” continue to top the headlines, reminding HR professionals of their need to keep employees happy and engaged, but today’s top talent is specifically asking for workplace cultures and benefits that help make their lives easier.

In fact, 94% of employees want benefits that have a positive impact on their quality of life, and 55% have left jobs in the past because they found better benefits or perks elsewhere. For women (and to be sure, many men), these benefits include flexible schedules, the ability to work remotely, robust parental leave policies and well-being programs that support the whole person.

And since their work day doesn’t end when they leave the office, they need help managing physical and emotional stress while sustaining their momentum in ways that meet them where they’re at: in front of their laptop, in the school pick-up line, in the doctor’s office waiting room or laying in bed at the end of a long day.   

So what can employers do to help?

Build a Culture of Caring

Transforming a workforce culture takes time and effort, but here are three impactful best practices that will touch employees at all levels: 

  • Get leadership support. The men and women in the C-Suite may be the busiest of the bunch— making it all the more critical that they understand (if they’re not experiencing it first-hand) that employee burnout is a real problem. Enlisting leadership support to address the existence of this reality and advocate for the importance of employee “caretaking,” can be extremely valuable. Even one executive champion of a new well-being program can help trigger a culture shift that gives others permission to both value and promote employee happiness and health.
  • Encourage managers to “parent loudly.” For a well-being culture to take root, employees need to see that not just their peers, but executives up the chain of command are imperfect human beings grappling with similar second-shift challenges. Encouraging senior managers to “parent loudly” and share their struggles will make the workplace a safe place to share authentic stories about home-life and to swap ideas about caretaking. By having senior team members initiate conversations around the realities of their own complicated lives they can normalize the discussion for others and make room for real sharing without fear of judgement.
  • Ask your employees what they need. When it comes to re-tooling benefits programs that help fight burnout, start with listening to your workforce. Hold dedicated meetings to collect feedback, or send out a survey to uncover what’s on your employees’ well-being wish-lists. By inquiring directly, you can find out what types of tools they need and will actually use. This will arm decision-makers with the data-backed insights they need to assess benefit and program vendors and solutions.

Deliver on Their Expectations

Today’s employees are asking for more than a paycheck. They expect a partnership that’s built on the way the world works today—both inside and outside of the office, people’s worlds are becoming more and more digital. Employees, particularly working parents, don’t necessarily work 9-5 in a traditional office setting: they’re always connected, working (and living) on-the-go. And they want their well-being programs to fit in to this new paradigm.

Considering 66% of employees say that a strong benefits and perks package is the largest determining factor when considering job offers, employers are wise to give employees what they’re asking for in the way that they want it. Employees experiencing burnout may be the most critical flight risks, after all. This means HR leaders need to innovate and support their employees with consumer-grade technology: digital wellbeing tools giving them anytime, anywhere access to content that supports the key lifestyle areas of exercise, nutrition, sleep, and mindfulness. When “second shift” employees—and let’s face it, “first shift” employees, too—enjoy the backing of an employer who understands their needs, they’re more likely to bring their best selves to all that they do. 

To learn more about nurturing a workforce culture that helps to fight employee burnout, download The Culture Connection: Workforce well-being and Your Organizational Success.

If you would like to learn more about supporting your employees with technology check out our e-book below. 

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Lorna Borenstein is the C.E.O. Grokker. 

The idea for Grokker came to Lorna Borenstein while on a multi-year sabbatical, traveling the world with her husband and three children. Hoping to use the internet to practice yoga and fitness while on vacation, she became frustrated with the lack of high-quality instructional videos available, as well as the difficulty in finding videos in one place. In 2012, Lorna founded Grokker.com, the on-demand wellbeing solution you can access from anywhere, anytime, on any device. Lorna was recently named one of the top 100 HR influencers.