Parents are burnt out and looking to their employers for help.
Roughly 66% of working parents in the U.S. say they are suffering from burnout as they juggle demands of home and work.
Employers know that it’s a real challenge and they’ve stepped up over the years to offer family planning benefits, like in vitro fertilization (IVF), which 54% of the largest U.S. employers with 20K+ employees are covering, and paid maternity and paternity leaves, which more than half of employers offer.
These benefits have become the status quo, which means an employer will no longer stand out among working parents. Some businesses are starting to look at postnatal support for parents after they return to the office from maternity or paternity leave, especially with RTO becoming mandatory.
Mostly, parents say they need more time.
“The amount of hours that someone takes researching things for their child is astronomical, whether it’s how do I get my kid to sleep or how do I stop tantrums or does my child have ADHD,” said Gabby Slome, co-founder of Cooper.
That’s why Slome created Cooper, an online platform that combines real human connection and access to experts to provide an always-on support system for parents. She wanted to respond to the clear need parents have as they navigate every age of their child’s life.
“What we’re seeing is parents continuing to leave the workforce and feeling inadequate without the proper support. You end up with a workforce that is not engaged, as loyal, wanting to leave, and not as productive,” Slome said.
Nearly 10,000 American mothers were surveyed for Motherly’s 2023 State Of Motherhood report, which reported that 18% changed jobs or left the workforce last year.
Working parents can use Cooper to ask a group of social workers and experts questions and help coordinate parent ERGs at companies too, taking the lift off of a working parent who would otherwise be organizing it.
“We’re buying back hours and hours of time from employees that would otherwise be endlessly Googling for,” said Slome.
Strongsuit is a subscription-based platform that helps working parents manage their to-do lists so they can be more present with family and in their daily lives. Two-thirds of their memberships stem from employees offering the service as part of their benefits program.
“When I was at corporate conferences before I had a family of my own, I would notice women would be talking about these really small problems like how do you get dinner on the table every night or what’s your childcare situation, instead of what was going on at the conference,” said Lindsey Michaelides, founder and CEO of Strongsuit. “A few years later, I started my own family and quickly realized those aren’t small problems. I wanted to solve it.”
Michaelides likened Strongsuit to an Asana for personal lives. On the platform, users are paried with a human “Strongsuit,” or someone they can delegate personal tasks to them to help them show up better in their lives.
“We would hear from people so often that they would get to a point where they felt like they were dropping all these balls at home,” said Michaelides. “Any one of these balls is not that big of a deal, but over time, it starts to compound and collect. Then you feel like you’ve got this mountain of evidence that they’re letting down the people that are most important to them and then they throw their hands up and say ‘well, something’s gotta give.’ And it’s usually your job and getting a less demanding one or freelancing.”
But working parents shouldn’t feel like they need to choose between personal and professional tasks. It picks up the lift of some of the invisible labor that happens at home, which in return helps working parents feel ready to take on their work day in the office.
“We can predict the needs of our members based on just knowing a little bit of data around them, their family and ages of their kids, and then we’re ahead of them before they drop a ball,” said Michaelides.
Emily Adams works at USI Insurance Services, which offers Strongsuit as a benefit, and has used the platform for the past three years. She says it allows her to be more present with her two kids, both of whom have special needs, in the hours after work.
“I rarely have to say no to things,” said Adams, who was able to be a girl scout troop leader for her daughter, for example. “I know my Strongsuit will back me up.”
When her daughter’s troop meeting sneaked up on her, she sent a note to her Strongsuit asking for help to get an agenda together for the meeting. And within just a few minutes, she was able to prepare for the meeting.
“I work with employers all day and they’re always looking for ways to differentiate themselves to support people back in the office, and I always recommend this,” said Adams. “It makes my life so much easier.”