Last week the news was full of closures of day care nurseries at short notice.
The impact of the closures is leaving parents struggling to find alternative childcare.
If we cast our minds back to 2020, we were all told to work from home where possible.
This isn’t something that had happened before. Until then, working from home wasn’t something that was that common, as most companies would require their employees to be in the office.
Needing to commute meant longer times away from home and therefore childcare requirements being extended. However, now, lots of people are still working from home and having greater degree of flexibility. They still require childcare, but do they need quite so much of it?
Many businesses have now adopted hybrid working where they are able to (relevant to the business sector and the roles). This means that a lot of people who were based in offices are now spending more of their time working from home. A recent survey of 50,000 people over 43 offices (conducted by Consultancy Advance Workplace Associates) discovered that UK workers are now only spending an average of 1 ½ days per week in the office.
To add to the issue, the cost of living crisis is affecting everyone’s budget: individuals and businesses. This means that things are now looking even more bleak for some parents when it comes to childcare. Due to the increase costs in overheads :food, energy, wages, and flexible working, day care nurseries are struggling to attract and retain staff and to manage the costs of running the business.
Companies such as Amazon and retailers offering roles with a higher hourly rate and a higher degree of flexibility in terms of hours of work, it’s fair to say that there is now a major issue in attracting and retaining staff in the care sector. Nurseries require specific ratios of children to staff and when there are insufficient staff, children are having to go home.
Brexit, pandemic and rising utility costs are all being blamed at the problem of nurseries not being able to attract and retain the right calibre of employees to look after the children. This in turn has an impact on the cash flow in the business, which in turn means that there is more pressure on the finances. While there are schemes available that allow parents to access free childcare via the Government, the funding available for this does not actually cover the costs of placing that child into the care of the nursery or club. This means that the nursery themselves are taking a hit financially when they are accepting children on these schemes. Increasing the fees that parents pay, could mean that some parents are not able to afford to place their children into childcare and that being a working parent would mean that they are financially worse off than if they chose not to work.
Check out the Episode 5 of the Good Employer Podcast, where Emma chats to Amanda Bennett, the Managing Director of Schoolhouse Daycare. Emma and Mandie discuss the topic of managing people in these difficult times and how to retain good staff.