We all know that the most exciting innovation comes when we try and fix problems that have been around forever. Problems that aren’t even seen as problems because they’re just life. Childcare has been a hot topic lately and not least because of the homeschooling issues linked to the pandemic. Many parents have been being pushed to their limits for a long time, thanks to the UK having the third most expensive childcare system in the world.
We’ve long had to deal with a structure that’s not fit for purpose and drives gender inequalities forward but I’m beginning to wonder if the hybrid working trend is going to force a shift. There aren’t many challenges which can claim as long a history as childcare. This past 18 months has thrown the childcare challenge that working parents face firmly into the spotlight.
For flexible workers – something the UK’s about to see many more of thanks to pending legislative changes – and businesses embracing hybrid working, the current childcare system is fundamentally broken. It’s stuck in a timewarp that serves an outdated family structure and doesn’t account for both parents leading fulfilling careers. For one thing, the cost often strips such a huge percentage of the mother’s income, often prohibitive to them returning to work.
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Childcare is vital, it keeps our economy afloat; it is also eye-wateringly expensive, incredibly inflexible and inaccessible for millions. Over half of women step away from their careers in the first five years after having a baby.
As with many big societal issues, tech has an important role to start to disrupt and evolve this sector where there has been a dearth of innovation. Flexibility, affordability and trust are things that tech are really good at. That’s why Bubble was created and it’s why we are coming into our own in this world where flexibility is king.
As the last 18 months have shown, many working parents can attend meetings via zoom and undertake most of their work commitments from home, but in a world that’s starting to better comprehend wellbeing and a work/life balance, flexibility is key. A one size fits all approach does not work. It’s broken. If indeed, it ever really worked at all.
Employers have a part to play in this new age too. Childcare is affecting the bottom line of every business. Responsible business leaders are beginning to invest in childcare as a benefit, with the intent of improving productivity, retention and D&I targets.
The post-pandemic world of work requires childcare on-demand that’s as flexible as our new working patterns. At Bubble we’re doing our part to usher in a new era of childcare so that parents can upgrade from local whatsapp groups and outdated methods of finding reliable help.
Written by Saah Hesz, CCO of flexible childcare app, Bubble.