Back-to-School Means Additional Stress for Parents in the Workforce

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Raleigh, NC – August 23, 2012 – Back-to-school preparations can quickly take a toll on working parents – and the stress that comes with a new school year affects more than just the home front.

According to a recent poll of American workers from Workplace Options and Public Policy Polling, many employees who have grade-school or college-aged children experience financial and personal stress from back-to-school preparations. And these stressors impact their productivity and personal work-life balance.

In fact, survey results show that:

  • 63 percent of workers noticed that the start of a new school year adds stress to co-workers who are working parents.
  • 35 percent expect back-to-school preparations to produce additional financial or personal stress in their own lives.
  • One in four respondents (27 percent) reported that the start of a new school year negatively affected the moods, attitudes or schedule availability of their co-workers.

“It is not uncommon for personal stress and pressures to make their way into the workplace,” said Dean Debnam, chief executive officer of Workplace Options, an international employee effectiveness firm and the world’s leading work-life services provider. “Back-to-school preparations can put an emotional and financial strain on employees, and often alters work schedules, priorities and productivity. A lot of companies are beginning to understand these needs and take a proactive stance to help employees manage these pressures effectively.”

A major challenge facing working parents with young children is childcare during the afternoon hours between the end of the school day and the end of the work day. Managing this time and finding childcare arrangements can impact the productivity of working parents.

Survey results showed that 46 percent of respondents said that the start of school impacted the productivity of their colleagues with school or college-aged children. And of those, 72 percent said that their colleagues’ productivity was negatively affected.

“Sometimes perception is greater than fact, but this is absolutely an issue that affects employers of all sizes and all industries,” Debnam explained. “Parents with younger children may need to leave early or may spend more time on the phone with children or babysitters checking in, but if employers provide the tools these individuals need to do their job effectively and manage the needs of their family, then both parties win. And that’s the revelation that we’re seeing with companies not only in the U.S., but internationally as well.”

The national survey was conducted by the North Carolina firm of Public Policy Polling, July 12-16, 2012. The survey polled 427 working Americans and has a margin of error of +/- 4.2%.

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