Learning & Development Asia 2024
Most working parents struggle to balance career, parenting, and personal wellbeing

Most working parents struggle to balance career, parenting, and personal wellbeing

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While respondents from Hong Kong and Singapore agreed flexible working arrangements would help, more than eight in 10 feel they were given “fake flexibility” in their workplace.

Striking a balance between professional responsibilities and parenting is never easy. This challenge is taking a toll on working parents’ mental wellbeing, and has become more pressing than ever amidst the more complicated internal and external factors.

Flexible working arrangements could be a way to better support the needs of this segment of workforce, according to the latest findings from Remote’s first Global Working Parents Report.

Among 1,002 working parents surveyed in Hong Kong, the study revealed that flexible work arrangements, including hybrid and remote working options, are as the most important factor in their job considerations – even surpassing career prospects or a 10% pay rise.

More than four-fifths (86%) of Hong Kong working parents agreed that a full remote work arrangement would be most beneficial to their mental wellbeing; 74% of them claimed hybrid work arrangements can have a similar impact.

Looking at Singapore, out of the 1,000 surveyed working parents, 81% agreed that flexible, remote, and hybrid work arrangements are most helpful for balancing career and parental responsibilities.

Notably, nearly nine in 10 (89.7%) working parents in Singapore said that flexible working arrangements would increase their chances of having additional children, highlighting the role employers can play in employees’ family planning decisions.

While flexible working seems to have become a feasible option in the modern workplace, the findings suggested more needs to be done to help employers in better implementing such arrangements.

In Hong Kong, 42.1% of respondents said flexible working arrangements are implemented in their workplace, but an overwhelming majority (87.5%) also reported feeling that they have been offered “fake flexibility”. Among those who would feel uncomfortable when submitting a flexible working request for childcare purposes, 43% believe doing so would result in termination.

A similar phenomenon was reflected in Singapore – while 56.4% of respondents said their employers accepted their flexible working arrangement requests, 82.1% feel they were offered “fake flexibility”.

The report also showed other challenges being faced by working parents:

  • 88.8% of Hong Kong respondents said they have taken a pay cut or reduced their working hours due to a lack of affordable childcare options during their working hours.
  • 82.8% of Singaporean respondents considered quitting their jobs due to a lack of affordable childcare options during working hours.
  • 87.3% of Singaporean respondents considered leaving their jobs when faced with more days in the office.
  • 87.7% of Hong Kong respondents felt guilty or anxious when they requested time off for childcare needs.
  • 88.9% of Hong Kong respondents believed they are overlooked for promotions or opportunities at work because they are working parents.

ALSO READ: Parents' special: HR leader Fiona Chan on ways to build a workplace that fits employees' family life

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