Remote Work: Game Changer for Working Parents

She makes a great point here, tying neatly into this piece’s core subject matter. Remote working—something many adopted at the start of 2020—is now de rigueur and, above all, is helping working parents organize and juggle their busy lives with a great degree of success.

Can it work full time? And what about its effect on childcare or the work-life balance of people who are already coping with “full plates?” Let’s take a look at all of this now. 

Remote work and childcare

When we suggest that remote work increases productivity, what are we looking at? What metrics are we investigating? Well, it’s difficult to assess. Many of the studies undertaken have used confusing methods and gotten contradictory results. 

“Telecommuting, one of many forms of work-life flexibility, should no longer be viewed as a nice-to-have, optional perk mostly used by working moms,” says Cali Williams Yost, CEO of Flex + Strategy Group. “These common stereotypes don’t match reality. Allowing employees to work remotely is a core business strategy today….We need to de-parent, de-gender, and de-age the perception of the flexible worker.”

The upshot is that remote work for most parents has been an absolute game changer. There will always be professions for which this kind of setup doesn’t work (unless you’d like to have your appendectomy over Zoom). However, for those who work in customer service operations, business settings, or are simply freelancers with their own companies, the freedom to stay in their home environment, leave the commute behind, work at a time and pace that suits them, and achieve a better work/life balance is key.

While there’s no clear federal law on this at present, according to Monster HR, “Many states and municipalities have started to include family responsibilities discrimination in laws guiding employment policy.” This means that companies must implement “family-centered policies that support employees who serve as caregivers for children or other family members.” 

Caregivers could include child-minding services, crèche facilities (for the youngest children), and those who provide record-checked private tutors for teaching services at certain times of the day. A good employer should make suitable provisions for remote-working parents to have access to childcare services. Future-proofing now will not only assist parents on a personal level but also help foster a more productive workforce. What do productive workforces create? Burgeoning businesses. 

Remote work for productivity metrics

Carrying on this theme, many parents started to realize just how much flexibility mattered when it came to work. A 9–5 office job with a commute on either side simply didn’t fit in with commitments—or allow for times when, to paraphrase John Lennon, “life happens while you make other plans.” 

However, there’s a distinct divide between those who want remote work and those who find it more of a challenge to accept. Unsurprisingly, it’s the CEOs of companies who want their workers in the office, while the people who are out there striving to make the business a success would rather be at home—winning at deadlines while wearing their pajamas. 

During the global health challenges faced over the last few years, one thing changed forever—the way many of us worked. According to USA Today, a third of work-from-home (WFH) employees in America now work remotely full time, and by 2025 they expect one in five workers nationwide to be joining the WFH revolution for some part of their work week.

Just as the education system constantly reinvents itself, managers and CEOs must now step up to do the same and allow more working parents the freedom to explore WFH as a standard operating procedure. 

First, let’s discuss perhaps one of the thornier issues this topic raises—namely, whether remote working parents still need childcare and whether workplaces should provide this if an employee isn’t going into the office anymore. 

Some studies, such as this one from Stanford University, discovered that remote workers were 5% more productive than those working in a physical office. Others, such as this one from The Institute of Labor Economics, show that WFH can contribute to a loss of working hours and productivity by up to 20%. 

Workers who have the chance to complete their jobs from home are also happier (and that seems to be a given). Forbes found that 100% of employees who worked from home all of the time were on average 20% happier and more fulfilled than those who commuted into an office every day for work. 

Parting shots

All these different metrics end up confusing matters when it comes to determining the net results of productivity while working remotely.  However, what many of them do find is that remote working schedules encourage recruitment and retention because flexibility is one of the most important things for workers, regardless of their parental status. 

Remote work is here to stay. Perhaps more employers should be open to the prospect of trying it with their employees.


As if the waters weren’t muddied enough, this study from Flex Report shows that a hybrid working model (i.e., some days in the office and some at home) seems to work best for most. Its opening statement suggests the whole issue is a bit of a Rorschach test—which might not be far off the mark.