The Future of Time 2022: Working parents optimistic about the future of work
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The past couple of years have been tumultuous for working parents, but new research from Adobe Document Cloud finds that we might finally be turning a corner.
Adobe’s second annual Future of Time global study surveyed nearly 10,000 managers and employees at companies of all sizes, looking at how global uncertainty is impacting productivity and job satisfaction. The study found that workers are personally concerned about things like economic instability, inflation, climate change, violence, and discrimination — and for 80 percent, this negatively impacts their productivity and job satisfaction.
- Working parents are especially stressed. Almost half (45 percent) of parents globally are concerned about planning for an upcoming recession, and in the US, parents are even more worried than their global counterparts about potential layoffs (76 percent), market volatility (76 percent), racial discrimination (76 percent), politics and elections (61 percent), gun violence (65 percent) and crime rates (64 percent).
- However, as the pandemic wanes, parents are feeling optimistic about their jobs and work-life balance : Parents are more likely to report they feel their work culture is aligned with their values (76 percent) and feel a sense of purpose from their jobs (83 percent) compared to non-parents (71 percent and 77 percent, respectively).
- Mothers report even more optimism about their overall work experience (81 percent) than fathers (74 percent).
- Parents are also more optimistic about work-life balance (72 percent vs. 67 percent non-parents) and personal wellbeing (70 percent vs. 65 percent) in the next six months.
- Mothers report higher optimism about work-life balance (78 percent) and wellbeing (77 percent) than fathers (74 percent vs. 73 percent).
Parenting in the hybrid work era
Being a working mother myself, I can’t say I’m entirely surprised. The past several years have ushered in a new era at work, including many positive changes for parents. Many employers stepped up to offer more parent-friendly workplaces with solutions from flexible work schedules to childcare benefits. For example, Adobe — named one of the top companies for parents — introduced new benefits including additional Disaster and Epidemic Time Off and company-wide global wellbeing days.
Digitizing how we work has become key to this evolution, too. As the workforce became more geographically distributed, work became asynchronous and non-linear — something that’s only possible if you have the right digital tools in place. More than 70 percent of respondents said they rely on digital tools for peace of mind at work, and 70 percent of employees anticipate benefits from investing in digital tools at work, like improved productivity and collaboration.
For example, cloud-based technologies make it easy to share files so employees don’t have to worry about not being able to access a file when a co-worker steps away from their desk or is out sick. With Adobe Acrobat Sign and Acrobat, people have to meet with a customer to get a sales contract signed or get on a live call to review new marketing collateral.
Tech and culture as a retention tool
Our research found that the combination of digital tools, a purpose-driven culture and wellbeing benefits are in high demand, as 78 percent of employees look for a more supportive work culture to motivate them to stay in their current role. Luckily, leadership is in tune with employee needs. More than two-thirds of managers say their organizations’ cultures will be more collaborative (69 percent SMBs and 76 percent enterprise) and digitized (71 percent, 81 percent) in the next year than ever before.
Change is the new constant in the workplace. As companies look to support their entire staff — including working parents of the U.S.’ 83.2M families — they must consider where they can improve processes, use better technology, and offer flexibility and wellbeing benefits to improve the employee experience while making teams more resilient, efficient and collaborative.