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Data Highlight: Return-to-Work, Child Care Impacts on Productivity

In March of 2020, Gov. Whitmer ordered all schools to conduct the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year virtually due to COVID-19. As new cases in Michigan steadied, the Governor transitioned the majority of Michigan into the “improving” phase of her MI Safe Start Plan.

In this phase, schools are allowed to resume in-person, however, she agreed to allow Michigan’s school districts and charter schools to create their own reopening plans, giving schools the option to open in-person, virtually, or with a hybrid model. While this sparked a lot of questions and concerns for the students’ learning, employers had just as many questions and concerns. What does this mean for their employees? How will this impact productivity? How should they adjust to their employees’ new work-from-home situation and parental demands?

The Detroit Regional Chamber developed a K-12 tracker to monitor the status of school openings in Southeast Michigan. In addition, they surveyed businesses on employee concerns and plans for mitigating child-care challenges. With 58% of schools starting online this fall and 75% of businesses workforce shifting to remote work, there are large concerns that employees will not fully return to work due to child care issues. However, a majority of employers responded that their organization is aware of the needs of employees with children. Seventy-one percent of employers surveyed have provided flexible working hours to support employees with children, and 82% have provided work from home options.

View the complete data to see how employers are impacted by and reacting to these evolving workplace concerns.