Care Corporate offers a comprehensive range of support programmes and resources for organisations to support employees at every life stage. Here we talk to founder, Roxanne Elliott about the changing nature of the challenges working parents face and her hopes for how the future of work will evolve.
Q. You launched Care Corporate in 2003 when the environment for working parents was very different. What gave you the inspiration to launch, and what do you think has been the defining change for working parents since then?
The very personal experience of not being able to find childcare for my daughter when she was born is what led to the establishment of CareforKids.com.au and CareCorporate.com.au. When Nina was born childcare places were at a premium, waitlists were long, and there was no centralised location for parents like me to search for and compare childcare providers.
I couldn’t quite believe how something so important for so many parents could be so hard. We set out with the goal of becoming Australia’s one-stop-shop for childcare, now nearly 20 years on Care Corporate offers support for parents and employees at every stage of life.
Since we launched CareforKids.com.au the early childhood education landscape has changed dramatically, early childhood educators are now degree qualified, and many early childhood services have evolved to meet the needs of a complex and demanding marketplace. It’s been amazing watching this transformation play out, and we are proud to have had such a pivotal role in supporting Australia’s hard-working early childhood educators as well as our hardworking parents.
Q. Do you think there are unique challenges for working parents in Australia, and if so, what are they why do they exist?
The challenges faced by working parents in Australia are the same as those faced by parents the world over; there is too little time in the day to get everything done, and balancing out the competing priorities is a constant source of stress. We all want to do the best by our children and enjoy a productive and fulfilling work life, and yet sometimes it feels as those these two things are in direct opposition to each other.
While there is no easy answer to this most perennial of dilemmas, I think it is heartening to see so many of Australia’s employers taking a proactive position and supporting employees to manage the small and big challenges of everyday life.
I think a really important message we need to try and get through to employees is the fact that they are an equal partner in this and should take an active role in managing their physical and mental wellbeing. Simply putting up with bad work conditions puts undue stress on employees and their families and is unacceptable, so we need to educate and empower employees about the support available to them.
Q. You offer support for parents at all stages of their parenting journey from babies to teenagers as well as senior care support. With so much focus on the early stages of parenting and how organisations can support parents coming back to work after parental leave, how easy has it been to convince organisations to look more broadly at the support they offer?
Running Care Corporate all these years has given me a keen appreciation of the genuine commitment that many Australian businesses have to the wellbeing of their employees.
Uptake of our Care for Teens and Care for Seniors programs provides clear evidence of the fact that employee support and assistance programs such as those offered under the Care Corporate umbrella aren’t tokenistic they are being offered by organisations with a clear understanding of the benefits for both employees and employers. They also demonstrate an understanding of the fact that employees face multiple challenges as they navigate the various stages of life, having a family is a significant transition, but so also is caring for elderly family members while working.
Appreciation and understanding of the importance of supporting employees at every stage has been an evolutionary process, but a rapidly increasing number of forward-looking Australian organisations are fast coming to this conclusion and Care Corporate is here to provide the platform they need to meet their employees’ needs.
Q. What do you think will be the major changes in the way we work over the next five years and what changes would you like to see?
Technology is changing the way we all work in good and bad ways. On the plus side our ability to work anywhere means that there are more opportunities for people to work from home on the downside this means many people are ‘always on’ answering emails and taking phone calls out of hours.
I’m really hoping organisations get better at taking advantage of the opportunities offered by technology while at the same time creating and maintaining realistic boundaries for staff so that there are fewer problems associated with stress and burn out.
Q. Being a working parent is very much about managing a juggle and finding what works for you and your family. How have you managed this juggle and what are the life hacks that worked for you?
The juggle never goes away, but in my experience, it becomes easier to manage. As the challenges of parenting and running a business have changed over the years I have changed my approach to ensure that competing priorities receive the necessary attention when required.
One of the positives of running my own business is that I have the flexibility to change my working hours to help me meet the needs of my daughter and older family members. But on the other hand, running my own business also means the buck stops with me. This has required me to take a proactive approach to running the business, I have a great team, which I have empowered to take care of things when I am not there and this is one of the keys to keeping all the balls in the air.
I work from home every other Friday and enjoy a leisurely breakfast with my husband Mark and our dog Barney, this is a great way of staying connected and helps me maintain balance, work can be all-consuming and it’s important to keep a healthy perspective.
Reducing the logistics in my life has also improved my ability to balance out my personal and professional responsibilities. I live and work in the same suburb which is such a luxury and has significantly enhanced my work-life balance.
Care Corporate and How Do You Do It have formed an alliance partnership to ensure Australian and New Zealand organisations gain full benefit from our complementary range of products and services. Read more about our partnership and the full range of services offered by Care Corporate here.
Visit Care Corporate to learn more or contact firstname.lastname@example.org