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19 Jun 2024

Huge return-to-office gains for employers offering family support

Savvy employers are encouraging employees back to the workplace by offering access to family support schemes such as sponsored nursery care

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Employer-sponsored childcare and family daycare is among a raft of measures helping workers return to the office, according to Bright Horizons’ annual Work + Family Snapshot survey.

A survey of over 1,800 working parents with access to Bright Horizons’ family support solutions through their employers, including sponsored nursery and back-up care, found:
  • 53% saw their hours at the office increase in the past year
  • 65% now report working more than half of their time in a central workplace
  • 76% of those with increased office working said they had upped their childcare as a result - with gender disparities (74% men vs 78% women)
  • 85% said employer-sponsored childcare helps them attend a place of work and 4 in 5 say the care enhances productivity
  • 9 in 10 say employer-sponsored childcare made it easier to return to work after the birth or adoption of a child

The report revealed notable differences when compared with working parents without access to family supports through their employer. Comparison with Bright Horizons’ previous survey of 3,000 random UK working parents, the 2024 Modern Families Index, showed those with access rate their employer 20 percentage points more supportive of family. 

The study revealed that 42% of working parents are looking for new employment. High on their wishlist with prospective employers were family support and affordability, accessibility and reliability of care. 

However, advice from Bright Horizons is to ensure care provision is inclusive, with evidence that elder care responsibilities and pet care are also taking a toll. 

Smart employers priortise family care

Jennifer Liston-Smith, head of thought leadership at Bright Horizons said: “As business focus scans across wellbeing to productivity, and the trend for more in-person collaboration continues, the smartest employers are ensuring they prioritise family care. Those employers that remove the barriers differentiate themselves in employee experience as well as productivity. 

“Reassuringly, we can see that by providing employees with access to meaningful and inclusive family supports, all parties can enjoy the benefits of all ways of working, including being together face-to-face. Employees with access to family support report higher levels of productivity, enhanced performance and improved employee wellbeing, engagement and retention. 

“This report shows the business case is clear and family-inclusive employers are held in much higher regard by their employees than those of the wider population. Our clients are some of the UK’s most forward-thinking organisations when it comes to implementing truly inclusive policies. 

“The world has changed, and employers must move to support their employees’ evolving needs if they want to continue to attract, recruit and retain talent,” she added.

Download the Work + Family Snapshot report.

In partnership with Bright Horizons Work+Family Solutions

Bright Horizons is dedicated to providing the best in class work+family solutions.

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