Working parents suffer extreme burnout during pandemic

The COVID-19 crisis has proven to be exceptionally challenging for 60% of working parents who have been feeling burnt out in the past year. The figure is slightly higher than the general population (56%) who have gone through the same ordeal, according to a study from remote jobs platform FlexJobs.

More than 1,100 working parents (living with children aged 18 or younger) shared their challenges in caring for their family while responding to the demands of their job during the pandemic. Despite work remaining steady for some (43%), others reported childcare duties have affected their career:

  • 21% reduced their hours
  • 16% quit their job but plan to return to the workforce
  • 4% had their partner reduce their hours
  • 2% quit their job and do not plan on returning to the workforce
  • 2% had a partner who quit their job

These abrupt changes to their working arrangements and overall career paths have created a ripple effect on their personal health. Three in five working parents, on average, suffer from burnout while two in five believe their mental well-being has declined since the start of the crisis.

For HR leaders, one of the strongest indicators of how working parents see career challenges differently is their emphasis on work-life balance. The study found: “82% of working parents say work/life balance is the most important factor they consider when evaluating a new job, unlike the general population, which ranks salary (80%) as most important.”

However, in working remotely, some parents have felt that they have been unable to unplug after work or that they have been working too much (40%) while others said they have been coping with non-work distractions (36%). Flexibility around their work hours could help them establish a rhythm while working remotely, respondents said.

“Parents say flexible schedules and working from home full-time have the greatest impact on their ability to manage their professional and childcare responsibilities,” the study found. Regarding their work preferences, some said they want a flexible schedule, retaining some control over when they work (26%). Meanwhile, others want to work from home on a full-time basis (25%).

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