After Covid-19, most parents want to work from home

During the pandemic, many parents had to work from home while also looking after their children and juggling homeschooling.(Photo: Unsplash/Sigmund)

Millions are slowly returning to the office after the pandemic, but new research suggests many parents want to continue working from home.

And according to the findings of the Institute for Family Studies, mothers were more likely to prefer WFH.

Among those with children under the age of 18, less than a third of mothers (30%) said Covid-19 had made them more likely to prefer working from the office most of the time.

One in five (19%) said they now prefer working from home half the time and around a third (34%) most of the time.

Among fathers, too, there was a strong preference for working from home half the time (22%) or most of the time (31%). Only 38% want to be in the office most of the time now.

When asked about what they think is the best child care arrangement for families with young children aged 4 or under, top of the list was flexibility and sharing the responsibility.

Well over a third of mothers (37%) said the best arrangement was to have both parents working flexible hours and sharing child care, compared to a quarter of fathers who felt the same.

Among dads, the most popular choice (29%) was having one parent stay at home full time to care for the children.

Authors of the study, based on 2,500 US adults, said the research points to a "reset" in working patterns among parents.

Commenting on the findings, study authors Wendy Wang and Jenet Erickson said, "Despite all the chaos and struggles over the past year, the fallout from the Covid-19 pandemic gave many parents the first-hand experience of working from home. And they like it.

"Indeed, the possibilities in workplace flexibility created during the coronavirus crisis may have begun a reset in the way parents think about what they want in their work and family lives—a reset that looks 'homeward bound.'"