Analysis Shows Child Care Tops Concerns about Returning to the Workplace


As states begin to slowly reopen their economies, one of the most discussed details in social media is focused on companies’ plans to return to the office. According to international social media analytics firm Talkwalker, perhaps the most important thing on people’s mind is related to childcare.

Uncertainty about what school will look like in the future, coupled with folks juggling kids while working from home this year, has made many people vocal online about the need for better childcare options for working parents. Talkwalker data shows that “childcare” was mentioned in 1,400% more headlines around employee work issues as businesses have reopened within the last month. The term is also occurring in online mentions around going back to work a whopping 32,700% more than a month ago.

It’s clear that making the decision to go back to work will, for many employees, be reliant on whether or not their little ones are secure, too. Until there’s a more concrete plan around schools reopening in the Fall, people aren’t confident about how feasible going back to a regular work schedule will be for them, as evidenced by this Tweet from cartoonist Scott Adams.

Social media is telling us that employees will not be rushing back to the office anytime soon,” says Todd Grossman, CEO Americas for Talkwalker.  “Their needs are not solely safety related, and I’d expect the new normal to include employer perks like child care (credits, or on-site, or another solution) that were previously only ever heard of at the nation’s most forward-thinking companies.”

Over the past 30 days, the needs of employees have trending heavily toward child care concerns with more than 42,000 mentions – a 32,000 percent increase on that term in relation to employee and work issues versus the last month.

Talkwalker reports this top five list of mentions related to employee and work issues.

  1. Child care  – 42,000 mentions
  2. Employee safety – 11,000
  3. One-way corridors – 1,100
  4. Staggered or flexible schedules – 1,100
  5. Office layouts – 983

For employers, social distancing will still be necessary as the world continues its search for a COVID-19 vaccine. Many workplaces – particularly traditional corporate office spaces – do not currently allow for that kind of separation between employees.  Employers are looking for alternative options to keep their open offices while still ensuring workers’ health and safety. Companies could adjust seating charts so that employees have a desk or two between each other, or we may see cubicles making a comeback. For workplaces with tight spaces, “one-way corridors” that minimize personal contact and max-occupancy rules for meeting rooms might be how folks accommodate for social distancing measures.

The top two-word phrases related to employer guidelines, according to Talkwalker, are:

  1. Work Plan – 3,300
  2. Protective equipment – 2,400
  3. Public Health – 2,000
  4. Reopening Plan – 1,600
  5. Safety measures – 1,300

While working from home forever may be the dream for some people, others have been struggling to keep up their regular productivity. Concerns about coronavirus spread aside, there are many people who are looking forward to being back in the daily grind.

How are people discussing reopening? Conversation clusters show how different topics within a larger discussion interact, and the influence they exert on each other. This shows us that within the re-opening discussion the most discussed topic at 16.2 percent is a potential second wave, followed by the effect on restaurants and shops at 9.9 percent of all reopening conversations, Talkwalker reported.

“We can also learn however that the two most influential conversations about reopening have to do with contact tracing and the caseloads in the cities,” Grossman adds.

Talkwalker is a social listening and analytics company that empowers over 2,000 brands and agencies to optimize the impact of their communication efforts. We provide companies with an easy-to-use platform to protect, measure, and promote their brands worldwide, across all communication channels. Talkwalker’s state-of-the-art social media analytics platform uses AI-powered technology to monitor and analyze online conversations in real-time across social networks, news websites, blogs and forums in 187 languages. Talkwalker has offices in New York, Luxembourg, San Francisco, Frankfurt, and Singapore.

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