- Millennial parents want flexibility in order to pursue meaningful work while raising their families.
- They want the ability to choose what works best to balance professional and personal responsibilities.
- By providing flexible working arrangements, employers have the opportunity to keep their best talent and improve their workers’ productivity.
In 2016, millennials became the largest generation in the US workforce, surpassing both Generation X and Baby Boomers. Adding to that, the majority of annual births in the US are now to millennial women, with more than a million millennials becoming mothers each year.
What Do Millennial Parents Want?
Millennial parents want flexibility in order to pursue meaningful work while raising their families.
They want the ability to choose what works best to balance professional and personal responsibilities, whether that is full-time or part-time work, in-office or remote.
In one survey, eighty-three percent of millennials said they would leave a job if it did not offer adequate family benefits. About 80% of working people in the US still do not get any time off to care for newborns, however.
By not adapting company policies and culture to be more supportive of flexible work, employers are risking missing out on this growing segment of the talent pool. They are not providing their employees what they need to be productive.
What Can Employers Do?
Flexible work policies, like the option to work from home or a flexible workspace rather than commute to the corporate office, is one way to address the needs of millennial parents.
It’s not just millennial parents that want flexibility in their work life. According to a survey by Capital One, more than 80% of millennials agreed with the statement, “I have my best ideas when I’m able to use flexible workspace”.
What is missing from many workplaces for working parents, particularly for those returning to work after welcoming a new child to the family, is access to childcare. According to another study, 69% of millennial working parents want access to childcare through their workplaces, but only a small percentage currently offer it.
Flexible Workspace for Working Parents
For parents that work remotely, access to a flexible workspace that also includes onsite childcare can be a less stressful way to re-enter the workforce after having a child. Coworking spaces with childcare are a small, but growing niche in the flexible workspace industry.
New flexible space businesses, like Third Space based in Omaha, Nebraska are focusing specifically on developing the best way to support the transition of parents back into the workforce by working directly with employers to provide flexible workspace with infant care.
Employers can provide the benefit of workspace with dedicated infant care to mothers after their maternity leave so they can continue to bond with their babies while transitioning back to work, helping regain momentum in their careers.
Another key characteristic of millennial parents is their use of technology for managing both their personal and professional lives.
The millennial generation is currently the most technology-entrenched generation in the workforce. In order to further design their lives for the flexibility that raising a family can demand, millennial parents turn to technology to streamline everything from scheduling doctor appointments to tracking infant nap times.
Coworking spaces with childcare that allow a parent to book not only a professional workspace for the day, but also reserve a space for their child, is an excellent example of how technology can be leveraged to help parents navigate their new work-life integration.
There are multiple additional benefits for parents with access to these flexible spaces:
- Their child remains nearby, which is practical for nursing infants, but also can be less stressful for a new mother.
- Coworking spaces are often closer to home, meaning a shorter commute. This can be especially important if the previous commute is no longer reasonable as a new parent.
- Being in a professional environment outside of the home, even once in a while, can help combat feelings of isolation that can be particularly difficult for new parents.
Employers can help to drive the growth of flexible workspaces for their employees, including those that are able to support onsite childcare for working parents. To do that, they first have to recognize that to attract and retain talent, they must deliver on the flexibility and parental support their employees are asking for.