‘I’m not jealous — just genuinely curious’: How can a woman work from home and mind her 3-year-old child at the same time?

‘I’m not jealous — just genuinely curious’: How can a woman work from home and mind her 3-year-old child at the same time?

Dear Quentin,

What do you all think about employees who work from home and have little kids to watch at the same time? A family member just got a work-from-home job and she is allowed to watch her 3 1/2-year-old at the same time. They said as long as her productivity doesn’t suffer she can watch her kids. It would be difficult for mom, child and employer, I would suspect.

How does this even work? I’m not jealous — just genuinely curious.

Family Member

Related:‘We get a raw deal’: I had the worst Father’s Day ever — and it’s a cautionary tale for other happy families

Dear Family Member,

Work more, judge less.

If your relative is able to raise her child and successfully work from home with her employer’s blessing, looking over her shoulder will only take time away from your own work day and productivity. Don’t underestimate your relative’s ability to juggle more than one thing at a time. Her employer certainly doesn’t seem to underestimate her. Why should you?

A happy employee is a productive one. There are just as many workers – with and without kids — who sit in offices and give a veneer of high productivity, but spend their days browsing Facebook, shopping online or taking their sweet time with their latest project. Research also suggests on-site employees arenot necessarily as productive as remote workers.

As Bob Thaves noted of Fred Astaire in one of his “Frank and Ernest” cartoons: “Sure he was great, but don’t forget that Ginger Rogers did everything he did … backwards and in high heels.” Women have long been raising kids, caring for elderly family members, keeping track of school and hospital appointments, shopping for groceries, cooking dinner and, yes, working.

A recent study, “The R.O.I. of Caregiving Benefits,” published by The Fifth Trimester and Vivvi, both of which aim to help caregiving employees, surveyed 300 employees and carried out 10 case studies of working mothers. The study concluded that every $1 invested in caregiving benefits drives $18.93, for a nearly 18-fold return on investment.

“As working parents become more emboldened to push for caregiving benefits — 83% of women and 81% of men with children ages 0-5 said that child care support would be an important factor in whether they’d stay or switch employers — the time is ripe to reframe the cultural narrative around support for caregivers in the workforce,” the researchers wrote.

Some 67% of respondents said they’ve considered leaving their job in the last year, and 42% of those who stayed said their employers supported their caregiving needs. What’s more, 59% said that if they had backup or subsidized child care, they would be likely to stay put for at least four years — 14 months longer than the average millennial tenure.

Caregiving benefits increase retention

Among the report’s key findings: Caregiving benefits drive an inclusive culture and increase retention; family benefits are now a hiring imperative; these benefits unleash parents’ leadership potential; and parent-friendly practices boost productivity. In fact, other data found that remote work leads to gains in productivity of up to 24% “if managers are well-trained for it.”

The number of people working from home varies, depending on the industry, country, and, yes, study. But since the pandemic, millions of workers realized they can work just as productively from their kitchen table a few days a week, while avoiding the stress and expense of a commute, and the perception that they must be 100% productive if they are “seen.”

Recent data published by the commercial-real-estate agency Knight Frank concluded that office occupancy was lowest on the West Coast — with rates hovering around 30%— versus 50% on the East Coast. It’s also much lower than the 55% to 65% occupancy rate in Western Europe, or the 85% to 90% rate in China, Hong Kong and Japan.

One reason that may partly explain this phenomenon: Child care costs more than a monthly mortgage payment or rent in almost every state in the U.S. Child Care Aware of America, an organization dedicated to helping working parents, found that the national average price of child care for 2023 was $11,582 a year — or $965 a month. Your friend is saving a packet.

The average office worker appears to be able to work from home two to three days per week. Obviously, it’s important to distinguish between white-collar workers and factory workers, service workers, retail employees and transportation workers — all of whom don’t have the same luxury to work from home. It’s a post-pandemic perk that is not available to everyone.

Be happy for your relative who is raising her child and holding down a full-time job that she appears to enjoy. Celebrate her. Support her. Call her up and tell her how proud you are of her. Ask her if she needs a babysitter from time to time. She might be glad of a break to socialize with friends, go on a date or even see a new release at the cinema. Just don’t judge her.

She’s doing everything you do — while looking backwards at a demanding three-year-old in the same room.

More columns from Quentin Fottrell:

‘Our children have varying degrees of success’: My husband and I are in our 80s and have $300,000 to leave our 3 kids. Do we give more to our underemployed son?

‘She told my grandchildren lies about me so they would despise me’: I’m disinheriting my ungrateful and selfish daughter. Could she contest my will?

‘He thinks I’m too materialistic’: My husband and I are in our 40s. He takes zero interest in our finances. He doesn’t even know the name of our mortgage company. What can I do?

  • https://www.msn.com/en-sg/lifestyle/parenting/i-m-not-jealous-just-genuinely-curious-how-can-a-woman-work-from-home-and-mind-her-3-year-old-child-at-the-same-time/ar-BB1pJg9U?ocid=00000000

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