Learning Pods: The New Employee Benefit?

The changes to American education brought about by COVID-19 have introduced a number of new pressures and challenges, especially to parents in the workforce. With online classes, many children are at home largely unsupervised as parents continue to work. Even if a parent can work remotely, it’s incredibly difficult to focus on professional responsibilities while ensuring your child remains focused on their classes. In fact, a survey conducted by TD Ameritrade found that nearly sixty percent of parents find themselves unable to balance their professional responsibilities with childcare amid the coronavirus. 

Bad to worse: the childcare crisis for working parents.

The issue of childcare and working parents existed long before the coronavirus. A 2019 Society of Human Resource Management survey found that only 4 percent of companies offered subsidized child care services for their employees. This poses an additional challenge for working parents on a budget, as Cost of Care reports that a substantial number of families spend upwards of 10,000 dollars a year on childcare. Compounded with the devastation COVID-19 has inflicted upon schools, businesses, and households, the issue of providing accessible childcare services to working parents is more dire and crucial than ever before.

Some companies are taking the initiative to help — with pods!

Several companies are taking initiatives to prioritize the education and childcare of their employees’ children with learning pods. Accenture is partnering with Bright Horizons, an educational company, to provide subsidized pod learning for employees’ children. Accenture is covering 75 percent of normal tutoring costs for children ages 6-12. With their pod learning program, small groups of students can learn an online-based curriculum with supplementary activities at several in-person locations. Similarly, Bank of America and Microsoft will also offer their employees access to learning pod services through Bright Horizons, alongside other resources like Khan Academy and virtual field trips. 

By partnering with educational and tutoring-based companies, these corporations can provide employees with access to childcare options that put the education of their children first. Many of these partnerships offer in-person proctoring, meaning parents can focus on their work without worrying about whether or not their child is focusing on their online classes. 

Coronavirus has rendered childcare nearly impossible for many working parents, but certain companies like Bank of America and Microsoft taking the initiative to provide educational childcare benefits to their employees is a step in the right direction. However, you don’t have to work at a large corporation to get the help you need in managing your child’s remote learning this year. Many education providers around America have started learning pod programs that are available in the home as well as in business offices.