Working Parents Might Miss the Kid’s Baseball Game, but They Don’t Miss Out on Work

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Raleigh, NC, October 16, 2013 – It’s one of the biggest battles in the news, lately: working parents versus the “childfree.” According to recent articles, childless workers feel that they pick up the slack for their counterparts with kids. But what do working parents think? A new poll from employee effectiveness and work-life services provider Workplace Options reveals that working parents do not think that parenthood affects their productivity at work.

The poll, which centered on the effect of children’s extracurricular activities on time spent at work, showed that most parents think that their job performance is unaffected. Just 8 percent of respondents admitted that their productivity has suffered as a result of managing their child’s activities, which include sports, dance or theatre. In addition, only 6 percent have been reprimanded by a supervisor for spending too much work time on their child’s extracurricular activities.

“There is a perception right now that working parents don’t work as hard as their colleagues without children,” said Dean Debnam, chief executive officer of Workplace Options. “These poll results show that there is a big inconsistency between that perception and how working parents view themselves.”

Poll results showed:

  • 6 out of 10 (66 percent) of respondents have used paid time off to volunteer for their child’s school-related or extracurricular activities
  • 73 percent of working parents said they never or rarely use work time to manage activities for their children

Flexibility for All

Working parents believe they are still productive employees, but not without sacrifice. More than half (56 percent) feel guilty for not being able to attend all of their child’s extracurricular activities. A larger group, 70 percent, have had to miss a performance or game due to work commitments. One in three (38 percent) of respondents said they have a harder time managing activities than stay-at-home parents.

“Working and raising children will never be an easy task,” said Debnam. “Employers can support working parents by offering services to help manage extracurricular activities, whether it’s locating the best local dance studios or finding discounted sports equipment. It helps reduce stress for parents and keeps them focused at work, which can temper resentment from coworkers.”

Indeed, while 80 percent of respondents indicated that their employers do not offer such services, nearly half (47 percent) would take advantage of them if offered.

While work-life services certainly help, Debnam says the real key to tackling the perceived imbalance of workloads between parents and non-parents is to offer flexibility for all.

”Ultimately, all employees are going to have obligations outside of work that require flexibility,“ said Debnam. ”While it might seem easier to make accommodations for parents, the best way to foster a supportive work environment is to treat everyone similarly. Afford the same flexibility for an employee to pick up a pet from the vet’s office as you might for another employee to pick up a child for an early dismissal day at school.”

The national survey was conducted by the North Carolina firm of Public Policy Polling, October 7-11, 2013. The survey polled 502 working American parents and has a margin of error of +/- 3.7%. View complete poll results HERE.

To learn more about the employee solutions provided by Workplace Options, please visit www.workplaceoptions.com. Also, follow us on Twitter at @workplaceoption and visit Workplace Options’ YouTube channel at http://www.youtube.com/yourworkplaceoptions.