Many parents struggle in today’s society with their ability to achieve a work-life balance. Concerns associated with child care are of the utmost importance and require continuous evaluation and monitoring so that the needs of children are met in a balanced and cost effective manner, since time spent away from the office for personal matters such as child care may lead to accusations of unproductivity in the workplace setting. To counteract this problem, many organizations now offer onsite child care services for their employees as a means of improving productivity and regular attendance. In this capacity, it is likely that employees with children will experience greater peace of mind and reassurance in knowing that their children are nearby, safe, and well taken care within the same facility. This facilitates the improvement of outcomes for employees in terms of higher productivity and a greater focus on work roles and responsibilities. Child care in the workplace provides a greater level of convenience because employees do not have to transport their children to a different location and are able to arrive at work on time to achieve maximum productivity. The following discussion will address the availability of child care in the workplace and its impact on employee productivity and performance and will also address the cost savings that is likely to occur with this option when it is available.
Many organizations have realized that the benefits of establishing onsite child care services outweigh the costs of developing these programs and operating them on a daily basis. Those companies who offer onsite child care have developed strong relationships with their employees and recognize that this benefit facilitates loyalty and productivity in different ways (Torres). In this context, childcare services onsite offer employees a chance to experience cost savings compared to other services and improve their level of comfort and peace of mind in regards to the care of their children during work hours (Torres). These opportunities serve as positive influences on an organization and its capacity to achieve maximum productivity from their employees (Torres). For organizations which embark into the world of childcare services, it is necessary to evaluate the different options that are available to ensure that the organization is achieving optimal success in this area by employing child care providers with excellent reputations and experience in this field, as this will go a long way in enabling parents to feel more secure that their children are being well cared for without worry (Torres).
Employers who offer childcare services to their employees are likely to enjoy greater benefits because these services may be profitable for them over the long term (Bowdoin). For parents, these services are typically more affordable than outside childcare services and are attractive to parents and even employees without children because many believe that this benefit helps the entire organization, not only the parents (Bowdoin). A research study conducted in the 1990s discovered an interesting statistic: “a majority of workers were willing to pay, on average, between $125 and $225 per year to subsidize on-site daycare – whether or not they had young children” (Bowdoin). This may appear to be a unique reason; however, it seems that employees want their colleagues, including parents, to be available and productive as much as possible because this makes all employees have a more productive work experience (Bowdoin). It is f inevitable that organizations that provide some type of childcare services onsite will witness the active utilization of these services for parents who want to make the most of their work experiences while also making certain that their children are well cared for at all times throughout the workday (Bowdoin). It is believed that “employee-sponsored daycare should not be considered as a blanket solution to labor pressures or work-family tensions, but could be more widely embraced as an economically viable benefit for some companies” (Bowdoin). This reflects an opportunity for an organization to experience greater efficiency and productivity from their employees over the long term (Bowdoin).
In the current economy, money is tighter than ever for parents and their children, and every penny must be accounted for and budgeted wisely to maximize income earned for as long as possible. Many organizations have struggled to remain afloat and have been challenged by increasing costs of doing business in many areas (NCSF). As a result, many businesses face difficulties that require their employees to enhance their productivity as much as possible to achieve continued operational stability (NCSF). These findings demonstrate that reducing program and benefit offerings is not a viable solution to this problem because it reduces the chance of achieving higher productivity from each employee when they are less than satisfied with their employer (NCSF). It is important to overcome this type of circumstance by developing a method or strategy to better accommodate employees through program offerings such as onsite childcare (NCSF). This practice enables employees to be more productive because they spend less time en route to offsite childcare facilities and in making other arrangements for their children as required (NCSF). These programs are effective indicators of the potential success that is possible in organizations where childcare services are offered during work hours (NCSF). These contributions also enable employees to have a greater sense of loyalty to their organizations when they believe that these firms are taking additional steps to secure their child’s wellbeing and safety in a nearby environment (NCSF). The benefits of this process are highly desirable and support the long-term development of employees and their talents through expanded productivity and greater focus on the needs of the organization, including all specific roles and responsibilities that must be accomplished during work hours, both individually and in team environments (NCSF).
A report conducted by the National Conference of State Legislatures indicates the following: “employers cite child-care issues as causing more problems than any other family-related issue in the workplace, with increases in absenteeism and tardiness reported in nine out of 10 companies. And 80% of the companies surveyed said that work days were cut short because of child-care problems. Child care benefits the employers who sponsor it by improving employee morale, reducing turnover and absenteeism, and increasing productivity” (Hahn, 2013). Under these circumstances, employers may carry some of the burden of this problem because they do not recognize that reducing costs by removing services is counterproductive and may increase costs due to lost wages and lack of productivity over the long term (Hahn, 2013). These elements demonstrate that it would be difficult for organizations to take away childcare services if they are already provided because of the loss of employee productivity; however, the creation of an onsite childcare service may have large front end costs but will be cost effective on a long-term basis (Hahn, 2013). The creation of an environment in an organization that supports this type of program will likely save hundreds of thousands of dollars per year in lost wages due to absences as a result of childcare issues (Hahn, 2013). It is necessary for organizations to evaluate this circumstance and to determine if it might be more cost effective to offer onsite childcare to meet the needs of employees and their children so that their focus is on the business rather than on personal issues (Hahn, 2013).
For many women, managing a full time career and being a mother are very difficult to balance. Therefore, it is likely that many women will experience problems in their efforts to be good parents and good employees. Emergencies arise with children on a regular basis, and under these circumstances, many female employees are required to leave work immediately to manage their child’s situation, leading to a loss of the remainder of the workday and a loss of productivity and wages (Linn). This type of situation is rather common in organizations where onsite childcare is not available; therefore, employers find it difficult to have full trust and faith in some employees when their personal commitments take over (Linn, 2007). For female managers, these challenges also exist but in different forms: “a female boss may have more flexibility to leave in the middle of the day, or more power to negotiate a family-friendly workday for herself. But if she does either of those things, she also may risk creating tension with her employees if they are not granted the same flexibility. That’s a particularly tough thing to balance in jobs such as nursing, where workers must be there in case of an emergency” (Linn). With this example, it becomes difficult for some female managers to balance their important responsibilities at work with those at home, and when the manager must leave to care for her children, it is possible that animosity and resentment will build over time (Linn). It is necessary hatto evaluate these circumstances regularly and determine if there are conflicts between work and personal responsibilities to determine if other alternatives are available (Linn). At the same time, employers who offer childcare services at work are more likely to attract and retain high quality employees who are grateful for this service and the level of flexibility that it provides to them in all areas of their lives (Linn).
The development of a successful onsite childcare program requires a strategic approach that recognizes the value of this program and its impact on employees and their specific needs. For some employees who make lower incomes and struggle with obtaining childcare services, it is important to address these challenges and employers should at least consider offering subsidies to support their childcare needs, whether it is through an onsite program or otherwise (Morrissey and Warner). Providing childcare assistance to employees who cannot easily afford these services is an important and meaningful tool in achieving optimal productivity for the organization (Morrissey and Warner). These elements convey the importance of evaluating how childcare services and support may be influential in supporting improved productivity and morale within the organization (Morrissey and Warner). For some organizations, voucher programs are a more feasible alternative for the following reasons: “Voucher programs are more flexible and can be tailored to employee’s individual needs. Voucher funds also can fluctuate relative to employee demand and market conditions. Furthermore, because vouchers can be linked to regular payroll operations, they are a tool easily implemented by all employers, regardless of firm size or the number of employees with children, and thus offer wider replicability than onsite child care” (Morrissey and Warner). This is an important tool because it reflects the willingness of the organization to take the steps that are necessary to obtain optimal productivity from employees as best as possible (Morrissey and Warner). These efforts will demonstrate the capacity of an organization to recognize the needs of their employees and to satisfy these needs through improved benefit programs and vouchers to support employees with children who require childcare services either onsite or by other means (Morrissey and Warner). However, onsite childcare services are ideal for many parents because these services support the ability of employees to better focus on work rather than on personal matters, and the rewards associated with these programs are likely to be much greater (Morrissey and Warner).
Employees who are also parents face critical challenges in their efforts to achieve an optimal work-life balance due to family and child responsibilities that often require employees to leave work for emergencies and other problems. It is important for employers to consider other feasible alternatives that will enable employees to maximize their productivity to provide the organization with the best possible results. Therefore, it is important to consider the implementation of onsite childcare services for employees so that there is less time spent outside of the office and more time spent inside and focused on work responsibilities. Organizations have come to realize that the provision of important benefits for employees is one of their core strengths because it captures employees’ attention and focus more effectively. Childcare is an absolute necessity for parents, but it is sometimes challenging to achieve the desired results in the workplace when no program is available. It is important to demonstrate the capacity of employers to provide affordable childcare services for their employees to achieve new outcomes and to satisfy expectations for employees in the appropriate manner. Employees are likely to remain loyal and expand their productivity in the workplace when their employers recognize their roles as parents and the need to accommodate these roles in different ways. This will encourage the development of onsite childcare services for all employees or voucher programs for discounted childcare programs to facilitate positive outcomes for employees and their employers.
Bowdoin College. ”Employer-sponsored daycare can be profitable, study shows.” 9 March 2013: http://www.bowdoin.edu/news/archives/1academicnews/001791.shtml
Hahn, C., 2007. “Day care: an office affair.” 9 March 2013: http://www.businessweek.com/debateroom/archives/2007/04/day_care_an_office_affair.html
Linn, A., 2007. “Female bosses carry child care burden – survey.” Retrieved from http://www.nbcnews.com/id/17381270/#.UTs4NGe68oI
Morrissey, Taryn W., and Mildred E. Warner, 2009. “Employer-supported child care: who participates?” Journal of Marriage and Family, 9 March 2013: http://economicdevelopmentandchildcare.org/documents/publications/169.pdf
National Council on Strength & Fitness, 2013. Employee benefit programs And Workplace productivity in challenging economic times. 9 March 2013: http://www.ncsf.org/enew/articles-employeebenefitprogramsworkplaceproductivitychallengingeconomictimes.aspx
Torres, Blanca., 2012. “Employers bring childcare onsite to keep workers’ lives balanced. San Francisco Business Times, 9 March 2013: http://www.bizjournals.com/sanfrancisco/blog/real-estate/2012/08/companies-bring-childcare-onsite.html?page=all