As organizations prepare to have their employees return to corporate offices and headquarters, go fully remote, or some hybrid of the two, childcare is at the forefront of employees’ concerns.

A new report by sister brands Women in Retail Leadership Circle (WIRLC) and Women Leading Travel & Hospitality analyzes employer trends in back-to-office strategies, including issues such as childcare. We asked executives from leading brands across both the retail and travel and hospitality industries how they’re navigating the many challenges and questions that come with defining a new way to work.

Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, parents were expected to take on the burden of childcare as school districts closed, shifted to a hybrid schedule or required students to be learning fully remotely. Parents, already working from home for the very same reasons that students weren’t in classrooms, were forced to pick up the slack when it came to their children’s education.

Working parents were splitting time between their day jobs and educating their children. However, this type of system was fraught with challenges, and employers were often getting less than their employee’s full attention during the workday.

Employees Are Expected to Have Childcare Arrangements

Among the 229 executives surveyed, 70 percent said they would require their employees who are working either part time or full time from home to have childcare arrangements in place.

For working parents pre-pandemic, having childcare arrangements in place was an expectation. Employees weren’t expecting that their employer would be OK with them splitting their time during the workday between childcare and their job. The pandemic, and children being forced to be schooled from home, changed that mindset.

childcare arrangements

Childcare Among Employees’ Back-to-Office Concerns

Additionally, 42 percent of respondents said arranging for childcare was a concern for their employees  with a potential return to the office in the works. The other employee concerns listed included commuting via public transportation, noncompliance with COVID-19-related guidelines by other co-workers, and not seeing an increase in productivity by being in the office.

concerns back to office

For more data and analysis, download the full report here.