With our current economic reality, movements for racial justice, and global pandemic, it’s harder than ever for parents to get the support they need. Especially working parents. Research from the American Psychological Association shows that 70% of parents are stressed about even meeting basic needs for their families during this time.

We’ve been hearing often from Maven members about the unique challenges that this time poses.

Employers can help working parents by implementing flexible schedules, telehealth, parenting benefits, and more. It’s about listening to parents in your company, learning from their experiences, and finding the specific solutions they need to support their families and keep healthy during these trying times.

Below, you’ll find some of the key takeaways we’ve gathered from conversations with our members regarding childcare, telehealth, and parenting.

1. Flexible working hours empower parents

Finding a way to address the unique needs of working parents within your organization is key. And chances are, you’ve already put certain measures in place to help.

For instance, in a May 2020 survey, Willis Towers Watson (WTW) found that 73% of employers have started offering flexible working hours to accommodate the needs of their employees. Updating your company’s policy on working hours is critical right now.

Research has demonstrated that “when workers have full autonomy over their working hours,” they’re more productive. Giving parents the ability to choose their working hours can allow them to do better work without being bogged down by daytime distractions.

2. Support starts with HR (and managers)

Beyond just setting a policy, your organization’s leadership needs to take an active role in providing support for parents. That means training managers to be open and empathetic to parents’ needs right now, and giving managers the tools they need.

There are many manager training resources, including our updated Checklist for Managers, that your team can leverage to ensure that parents are getting what they need.

If your leaders are parents themselves, make sure they demonstrate best practices by sharing out when their working hours shift and keeping their calendars updated.

3. Return-to-work support for new parents is more essential than ever

There are many people, some of your employees among them, who are becoming parents or growing their families during this tumultuous time. Guiding parents through the return-to-work transition with benefits and support can replace the traditional support systems that are no longer available. And by making the experience of early parenthood better for your employees, you can ease their return-to-work transition.

For new mothers, breastfeeding and lactation support are key. New parents are also looking for access to OB-GYNs and pediatricians, support with infant sleep training, mental health counseling for postpartum depression or anxiety, access to career coaches, and more.

Telehealth can fill gaps in care for your employees with unlimited access to specialists across all these areas, so that they’re healthy and have the support they need when they return to work.

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4. Access to childcare is limited right now (but critical)

Childcare support is a key stressor for parents right now. Parents say that providing options for childcare stipends or services can help relieve stress, improve productivity, and boost motivation.

According to recent research, 43% of parents working remotely said that they are currently in need of childcare. Additionally, 63% of parents had difficulty finding childcare, with 33% saying the search has been “very difficult.”

Your HR team should look to create ways to connect parents with childcare support options. With Maven, members are paired with a dedicated Care Advocate who creates a care plan to fit their unique needs—including options for childcare support.

5. Childcare isn’t just a 9-5 gig

Even with all the benefits you can provide employees during the workday, parenting needs extend beyond that.

We’ve found that 1 in 3 members turn to Maven for pediatric care. And from January 2020 to May 2020, bookings with Maven Pediatricians increased by more than 300%. Our members have access to over 2000 providers, many of whom specialize in pediatrics and infant care. These telehealth providers are available around-the-clock, and we see that many members seek pediatric care outside of standard doctor’s office hours.

Giving parents access to care for their family 24/7 is crucial for peace of mind and answers to their questions as they arise, all while driving down healthcare costs attributed to unnecessary ER visits.

6. Healthy parents are the key to healthy children

When parents have access to the support they need, they can provide better care for their children. That means caring for parents as much as they care for their children.

Among millennial mothers, 74% of those surveyed said that they have experienced a decline in their mental health since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. That’s due in large part to external stresses, in addition to the burden of childcare, working from home, and social isolation. Helping employees find the tools they need to overcome and adapt to these mental health challenges will be essential in the months ahead.

With Maven, parents and children alike have access to the care they need. Specialized mental health support for both parents and children is integrated into our network of providers, giving members options to handle all the stresses that work and life can bring. Members can choose from our network of mental health specialists, and we’ve seen a 300% increase in mental health visits since the pandemic began.

7. It’s more than just finding the right pediatrician

Telehealth is here to stay and chances are, your employees are turning to you for these benefits as they look for new ways to access care for their family.

Pediatric specialists are among the top 5 provider types that members engage with on Maven. And that includes more than just pediatricians. Members are highly engaged with specialists and coaches, ranging from infants through early childhood.

For instance, Pediatric Occupational Therapists work with parents, babies, and children on a range of aspects related to general brain development and developmental wellness.

Pediatric sleep coaches provide tips and guide new parents through sleep training, and address any sleep issues infants struggle with. By providing unlimited virtual access to sleep coaches, Maven lowers high out-of-pocket costs, ranging from $300+ for virtual consultants through $7,500 for in-home training.

Members can find emotionally and culturally adept providers across these pediatric specialties and others to help deal with the challenges that come with raising a child in today’s world.

What’s next?

These changes might not happen overnight, but showing your employees that you’re listening and evaluating the best options to support their needs is critical. By taking a proactive approach to giving working parents the support they need, you’re investing in the immediate and long-term success of your employees—and in the health and wellbeing of their families.

Through these trying times and beyond, Maven is here to help working parents succeed.

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