Working parents welcome return to the office

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Date: 7 September 2021

A man juggling childcare whilst on a work call

New research shows that parents with children at home are most eager to return to the workplace in order to re-establish some normality and work-life balance into their lives.

As children across the UK head back to school after the summer holidays, a new survey by Hitachi Capital Business Finance has found that four in five parents that run their own business are especially keen to return to office (81% compared to 66% without kids at home). Too many distractions, a lack of social interaction with colleagues and a poor work-life balance are the key factors driving many working parents back into their workplaces.

The poll of senior decision-makers in small businesses found that 81% of respondents with children still at home were feeling positive about a return to the office, with parents of 6-18 year-olds the keenest to return to the office (82%). This is compared with just 53% of those whose children have left home and 69% of adults without children.

The key findings show that:

  • 44% of parents with kids at home were looking forward to getting out of the house and having a proper work routine - compared to 33% of households without children at home;
  • 32% of parents said they missed grown-up conversation;
  • 20% of parents said they were eager to have face-to-face interactions with clients again;
  • One in ten parents want to ditch Zoom calls;
  • One-third of parents said a return to work would create a clear boundary between work and home life;
  • 26% of parents said they wanted to get into smart clothes after months of wearing lockdown loungewear.

Unsurprisingly, parents with young children were most likely to cite too many distractions as a reason they would like to return to the office, with childcare duties merging into their work week.

"Balancing childcare with running a successful business can feel like having two full-time jobs," said Joanna Morris, head of insight at Hitachi Capital Business Finance. "The fact that the vast majority of businesses have managed to keep the wheels of their businesses turning during this time is a huge achievement.

"This research serves as an indication of the pressures small business owners have been under, with long hours and extra distractions as many parents navigate working from home. Lockdown forced all businesses into an unfamiliar way of working, and each has adapted and evolved in their own way, to meet the challenges each faced. Inevitably, these pressures will shape how we come out of lockdown, with technology enabling business owners and their staff to keep all plates spinning."

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