Remote caregivers will need this long to plan for office reentry

Employers who are bringing remote caregivers back to the office could need to give several weeks' notice with continued flexibility moving forward.

lightfieldstudios.jpg

Image: iStock/lightfieldstudios

In recent weeks, a number of companies have started to bring employees back to the in-person office as vaccination efforts increase around the U.S. However, many professionals have provided care for members of their household on top of their remote work duties. Blind, the popular anonymous network for professionals, recently published the results of a poll about remote professionals who are also caregivers, their preferred reentry timelines and more.

Turns out, many employees who have provided childcare during the pandemic could need several weeks' notice to plan their return to the office and many prefer continued work schedule flexibility moving forward, according to the results.

SEE: IT expense reimbursement policy (TechRepublic Premium)

A Blind blog post breaks down the pop-up poll findings and details the methodology. Overall, the pop-up poll ran from April 21 through 27 and received 5,143 responses. The survey posed a series of questions to understand how many people on the network are simultaneously supporting other members of their household while working remotely and what reentry timeline and work schedules they'd prefer.

About half of respondents (47%) said they had either a "child, elderly person or a high-risk person" at home and quadragenarians were found to "have the most caregiving responsibilities," according to the Blind post.

Among respondents without dependents at home, about four in 10 (44%) said they could return to the office "right now," compared to 16% of professionals who are providing care at home. Among respondents with children at home, men were twice as likely to say they could return to work now.

Additionally, the survey asked about the timeline people would need "to take care of" their "home logistics" if the office reopened and what would help them "readjust to in-person office days" with the option to choose between a flexible daily schedule or a hybrid model. About one-quarter (27%) of remote workers with dependents said they would need a minimum of one to three months' notice to "be able to go back to the office."

SEE: Juggling remote work with kids' education is a mammoth task. Here's how employers can help (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

Among respondents who have dependents at home, more than half (54%) said they would "need a flexible hybrid schedule" and about one-third (37%) said they'd need this flexible hybrid option as well as daily flexible hours.

When summarizing these findings, the author of the Blind blog post, Fiorella Riccobono, said "flexibility will outlive the pandemic."

"Employers should share accurate, timely, and transparent information to give their employees enough time to properly sort their at-home logistics, requiring an abundance of flexibility and time to work," Riccobono continued.

Also see