Burned Out Working Parents Are Costing Employers

Julie Shenkman
Posted by

A resurging buzzword gives a fresh take on an old problem for human resources professionals. Burnout of working parents relates to moms and dads who feel exhausted trying to juggle job and family responsibilities. Exhaustion and lack of satisfaction lead to less creativity and less energy at work, eventually causing these employees to quit their jobs in frustration, a new study suggests.

In addition to potential decreased productivity, worker burnout can cause employers to unnecessarily spend time and energy on looking for a replacement when an exhausted — albeit a perfectly capable — employee quits. The study, published by Bright Horizons, examined how workers and management felt about working-parent burnout. While each side may have a different take on how to combat the problem, both labor and management agree that the solution lies in the workplace itself.

The survey shows some interesting statistics with respect to working-parent burnout. Up to 62 percent of working parents believe their employers simply do not care about them. Meanwhile, 56 percent of working parents lack happiness in their current job. A whopping 98 percent of those surveyed have experienced some type of burnout at one point or another.

A disrupted work-life balance is not a light matter. As many as 77 percent of working parents state burnout led to depression, anxiety or sickness, in addition to the lost time at work due to these health issues. Up to 77 percent of managers and 79 percent of working parents agree that the solution to working-parent burnout starts at the office rather than at home. As such, 62 percent of working parents want to work for a company that supports their needs, the study reveals.

One problem the study brought out is the silent suffering of working parents, who do not feel as if they should share concerns with employers. In fact, 75 percent of survey respondents said they would be afraid to voice concerns about their needs as parents being neglected. As many as 77 percent of working parents are hesitant to say anything about wanting more time at home with family, and this lack of communication only exacerbates working-parent burnout.

On the other hand, only 34 percent of managers have concerns about the work-life balance of their team members. Similarly, just 30 percent of managers worry that those under their supervision may feel dissatisfied with how the company treats them as parents. On a brighter note, management realizes working parents are better multitaskers, time managers and problem solvers.

Providing solutions and support for parents saves employers money simply because a loyal employee who knows his job remains an asset for decades. Taking care of human capital must remain a priority for businesses if they want to curb working-parent burnout. More companies should offer flexible work schedules and benefits to cope with a new generation of parents in the workforce.

Photo courtesy of imagerymajestic at FreeDigitalPhotos.net



Become a member to take advantage of more features, like commenting and voting.

  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    @Pebble breaking into a new career can be a very exciting time. Are you going back to school to seek a degree? If so, then you should make good use of your career services. If not, then try breaking it down into steps. First determine the qualifications that you will need to succeed. Then try to evaluate your strengths and weaknesses in regards to the new career. In a cover letter you could explain - briefly - why you decided to move from logistics to HR. Try networking - here on Beyond or on LinkedIn or even search your area for networking events. Now that the weather is getting warmer in most places, you will start seeing more networking events as many of them will take place outdoors such as some of the after work networking socials. Remember, though, that you are starting from the bottom. You would be considered as entry level since you don't have any experience in HR. So make sure that you keep your expectations grounded. You won't be pulling in the same salary as you did so make sure you are prepared for this. It's an exciting time when you change careers. Go for it and we will be rooting for you.

  • Pebble P.
    Pebble P.

    I am seeking a new career in the HR field. I have 14 years of administrative operations coordinator experience with a background focused in logistics. I welcome information on how to break into a new field.

  • Paulette B.
    Paulette B.

    Thank you Nancy for your comment! I was writing about my daughter, she has two children, making 13.00 hr, works full time & going to school. She wants to provide for her children better and i would like to help her more but my job and commute has been exhausting since day one I have little time to get things done at my home! However your ideas are great and I will suggest those. Thank you, Paulette.

  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    Thanks for that comment Ehimwenma. Couldn't have said it better. Our world is moving at breakneck speed and we are the only ones who can stop that. It can be scary thinking that if you take too much time away from your job that you could lose it. But, to me, family must come first. If I am afraid to speak up and let my supervisor know that I have issues at home, such as a sick child, and I need to take the time off - well, then maybe I am in the wrong job or working for the wrong company.

  • Ehimwenma Eweka
    Ehimwenma Eweka

    Interesting article with an issue at large, and has been for some time now. This affects everyone, although more so for young parents/families and single parents.This is an issue much more pronounced now today as the world seems to be obsessed with speed and doing more with less. Be it at home ( more activities than time can allow to manage) or at work ( from meeting deadlines, to getting the work done with little resources) etc. To make matters worse, those affected at work are afraid of speaking up and get help, myself included, for the fear of loosing our jobs to someone else with less 'baggage'. Especially if and the economy is in peril conditions. It is time we all try to slow things down; put less things on our timetables, at home and at work; get help when needed; and enjoy a well balanced work, personal, and family lifestyles.

  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    @Paulette it certainly can be exhausting. We have all been through it or are going through it now. If this is getting to be too much, maybe you can speak with your employer about fewer hours each week. Or maybe you could change up your work hours so that you get home @4 instead of after 5pm. Try spending a few hours over the weekend to make nutritious healthy meals for the week and put them in the freezer. That way all you have to do is pop them in the microwave for a quick dinner. You might even ask to work from home one or two days a week if you have a position that could support that. Before you reach the burnout stage to where it's affecting your work, talk to your supervisor.

  • Paulette B.
    Paulette B.

    I see complete burnout for young families or single parent homes. It is hard to work until 5pm or later, rush to get your kids from day care, rush home to make dinner (healthy) interact with the kids, do homework and get kids in bed by 8pm so the early morning won't be crazy. Then make lunches , clean up dinner dishes then shower, by that time it is 11pm, and exhaustion sets in by Friday.


    Not all older people are like that? This is a Discrimination of AGE!! For Older people who are still supporting their families.

  • Vasile N.
    Vasile N.

    Proposal for a subject ... burned out versus stress ?

  • Arthur O.
    Arthur O.

    The aging of our society brings huge challenges to our workforce, including caregiver burn-out, "club sandwich" generation, etc.

  • Edward A.
    Edward A.

    They need to check if some of these people they hire have a GED ,they would be suprised!

  • Edward A.
    Edward A.

    Trying to find a job that pays money were you can at least make it by !

  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    @Angela thanks for your comment. As parents we have ALL been here at one point or another as we tried to forge out a living and take care of our home and children. Although I only had one child, I had the added responsibility of being active duty Navy 24/7. It's tough and I think it's great that companies are able to see that just a little bit of flexibility goes a LONG way. Wish that ALL companies could see this and respond to their "working parent" employees in a kinder, gentler way.

  • Angela G.
    Angela G.

    Absolutely love this article, and completely agree! Thank you for being bold enough to bring this topic to light!

Jobs to Watch