Back to School Blues: Perceptyx Finds Work Productivity Expected to Decline As More Schools Switch to Remote Learning

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New data provides insight on the potential outlook for working parents this fall; working mothers in senior leadership positions impacted the greatest

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It is clear that for working mothers in senior leadership positions, we risk losing decades of progress towards breaking the “glass ceiling” because of the demands of distance learning

Perceptyx, the leading employee listening and people analytics platform for enterprise organizations today released new data showing productivity for working parents is set to decline at the start of the school year, as the recent surge in COVID-19 cases has led to schools moving to complete or part-time distance learning.

More than 60 percent of working parents believe that carrying out distance learning from home will place an extremely difficult burden on their family, while over half report they will be both distracted to either a “moderate” or “great” extent on days when their children are learning from home and that their work productivity will decline. Over 40 percent are also worried either a “moderate” or “great” extent about their job security due to their children learning from home.

Perceptyx previously reported a considerable increase in productivity and a decrease in the desire to return to the physical workplace near the end of May, just as the school year was coming to a close.

“Undoubtedly, school decisions will impact parents’ willingness and even ability to work in the physical workplace, leading to a potentially significant decline in productivity as work-at-home parents are once again forced to play the roles of employee, parent, and teacher during the workday,” said Brett Wells, Director of People Analytics at Perceptyx. “To mitigate the negative impact remote school can have, including the potential exodus of working parents, we recommend employers reevaluate their return-to-work strategies and leave policies, and consider adding new benefits to support employees and their new reality in any way they can.”

While school this fall will undoubtedly look different in every situation, the largest portion of parents are still uncertain about sending their children to a traditional classroom. Surprisingly, a quarter (26%) report they are not sending their kids back to school at all, while forty percent say it will depend on the school district's plans. As of the end of July, 41 percent say their school district has not communicated a clearly defined return-to-school strategy.

When it comes to mothers and fathers, Perceptyx found that there was not a great disparity between roles when it came to distance learning having a negative effect. The data did find, however, that working mothers who are in senior leadership positions (e.g., executives/vice presidents) are most at risk of feeling the extra burden, pressure, and challenges that distance learning brings to their workday. They are more than 1.5 times more likely to report they do not intend to stay at their current employer for at least the next 12 months as compared to fathers.

“It is clear that for working mothers in senior leadership positions, we risk losing decades of progress towards breaking the “glass ceiling” because of the demands of distance learning,” Wells noted.

Working parents aren’t the only ones who will be impacted by remote learning this fall, as non-parent co-workers report that they are feeling the disruption even now before the return to school.

  • 39% of non-parents believe their co-workers who are parents are more distracted.
  • 29% of non-parents believe their co-workers who are parents are less productive.
  • 25% of non-parents say their workload has both increased and become more difficult to manage because of their co-workers who are parents.

Perceptyx also found that how an organization supports employees faced with distance learning plays a huge role in retaining these individuals. Ninety-two percent of employees who strongly agree their organization is providing the flexibility and support to work from home when children are at home intend to stay at the organization for at least the next 12 months. This drops to 66 percent for employees who do not agree their employers are providing flexibility and support.

“To adequately support working parents, organizations must be willing to consider cases at the individual level,” continued Wells. “Open and honest conversations are paramount, and a well-crafted employee listening and action plan can enable organizations to identify support areas that employees will value the most. Through these discussions and discoveries, organizations can create new ways forward.”

About Perceptyx
Since its founding in 2003, Perceptyx has been redefining the employee listening industry, delivering enterprise-level employee surveys and people analytics to more than 30% of the Fortune 100 today. With an unrivaled technology platform and a tailor-made, flexible approach, the Perceptyx technology makes it easy for managers, HR, or business leaders to discover insights deep within large and complex organizations, driving meaningful action to improve business outcomes. Driven by a deep intellectual curiosity and a culture of innovation, Perceptyx is challenging the status quo—to help people and organizations See The Way Forward.

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Daniel Norwood
Perceptyx
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