By Joanna Drake
C200 member Joanna Drake founded Magnify Ventures to partner with entrepreneurs who are boldly transforming how modern families and communities live, work and care for each other. A General Partner at Core Ventures Group and a member of Broadway Angels, a world-class group of women investors, she has mentored and invested in other founders to solve important problems in technology.
The past few years of forced accommodation and redistributed workforces have revealed how much our working population – both men and women – are struggling with the burden of caring for families. In our first year of joining group meetings at Zoom, we were delighted to see colleagues’ pets, children and parents hovering in the background, oblivious to the added caregiving burden that comes with them.
As our remote work habits and technology evolves, we can better blur our families from our computer backgrounds, but they don’t just disappear. Chances are, most of your coworkers and employees are distracted and exhausted from caregiving, even if they can show up during “regular” business hours.
Three-quarters of the adult population are members of the “sandwich generation” – caring for both children and older family members. Juggling these responsibilities can lead to serious stress issues over time – burnout, emotional overload and mental fatigue. The American Psychological Association’s Stress in America 2022 poll reports that three-quarters (76%) of adults experience a negative impact on their lives when they feel stressed—particularly in terms of their mental health, risk of physical illness, and ability to participate in important daily activities. Activities.
Companies with high talent are those that embrace data-driven, employee-first policies. Throw the recession in our midst and managers at all levels should sit down and try to support more family-friendly job-building solutions.
On a brighter note, I believe the future of work for working parents and caregivers will improve as technological innovation brings options and relief. In my role as an investor at Magnify Ventures, I have the opportunity to work with startups that are tackling employee care challenges so that they don’t just ‘show up at work’, but are fully present and productive. Inspired by their own life experiences as working parents and caregivers, many amazing entrepreneurs are offering new technology-enabled tools and services that are changing the $650B caregiving economy.
The following care challenges map to key needs throughout your employee’s life cycle; Addressing these issues can serve as a powerful talent retention and productivity strategy and improve the mental health and well-being of caregivers and families.
Mental health support for new mothers
The journey from preconception to pregnancy, postpartum, and parenthood is often difficult, especially for working moms. Research shows that 30% of women experience anxiety or depression during childbirth, and only 85% of women with postpartum depression receive treatment – it brings different generations for these women and their families.
Seven Starling offers a team-based care model Providing specialized therapists covered by insurance to help expectant and new mothers overcome stress and anxiety and learn to integrate the demands of early parenthood. By providing resources and compassionate advice, referral employers help new working parents enjoy their journey and ultimately increase their ability to return to work.
Access to affordable childcare and preschool
Lack of access to early childhood care. of The number one driver of new parents not returning to work. A February 2020 survey by LinkedIn and Censuswide found that nearly half of mothers were taking longer leave after giving birth, finding it more cost-effective than paying for childcare. While some child care providers have recently returned to the workforce, we continue to face the long-term systemic child care issues of access, cost, and staffing shortages.
Kinside uses digital technology to end the childcare crisis in this country. The online marketplace matches workers with vetted childcare providers, based on location, demand and availability. Working parents have instant access to discounted rates and seamless payment options, including dependent care FSA funds and ACH.
Support for the elderly and caregivers
As we live longer and more people are choosing to age at home, the US is in the midst of an epidemic of isolation and loneliness amid our aging population. During the pandemic, families with isolated seniors living alone saw this troubling trend: long-term forced physical isolation and loneliness significantly increased mental and physical health issues for older adults.
Loneliness and isolation are costly: They are associated with an estimated $7 billion in additional health care costs each year among Medicare beneficiaries and contribute to poor health outcomes, including a 50 percent increased risk of premature death. Cigna’s research on loneliness highlights that “loneliness has the same effect on mortality as smoking 15 cigarettes a day, making it more dangerous than obesity.”
Papa launched in 2018 as a marketplace to match gig economy workers with seniors, with the help of technology, or “Papa Pals.” Papa works with health plans and employers to connect seniors with real people for help with companionship, daily activities, transportation and more. This support helps address isolation and loneliness while improving overall health and well-being and reducing health care costs.
The company’s virtual and live trusted companionship programs, available through payer and employer channels, will help seniors stay connected and live independently during the pandemic and beyond.
Digital employee leave platform
Life happens, and when it does, one of the most important investments an employer can make for employees dealing with health and family challenges is to ensure easy and stress-free temporary leave. With teams more fragmented than ever before, complying with state-by-state due diligence laws can become a complex part of a company’s compliance efforts.
Whatever the need—from paternity to covid illness, mental health, and bereavement—employers can rely on Cocoon’s software platform to automate state and insurance filings, comply with leave laws, and most importantly, keep employees pain-free. A personal leave experience that ensures a warm welcome when they are ready to return to work.
It’s clear that caregiving pressures can be a barrier to work—especially for mothers who shoulder a fair amount of caregiving responsibilities. Companies focused on supporting the needs of working families are positioned to attract and retain top talent, while retaining valuable employees who are responsible for caring outside of the workplace while also attracting employees who are in the workforce.