BCG Henderson Institute

Most employers, large and small, are forced from time to time (often daily) to juggle frontline work schedules when employees unexpectedly can’t come to work due to illness or family emergencies. And they do this knowing that many of the callers aren’t ill themselves; they’re absent because a child is sick, an aging parent requires attention, or their caregiver is sick.

The problem is especially acute among frontline workers—especially hourly and part-time employees—because they typically can’t work remotely, can least afford the exorbitant cost of childcare, and often rely on fragile support systems of friends-and-family to provide needed care.

Leaders and managers forget sometimes that some 70% of the global workforce cannot simply bring a laptop to any location with high-speed internet service and get their work done. These are the factory, hospitality, retail, healthcare, transportation, distribution center, public safety and other workers critical to keeping our lives and society going. And we know from research that these often-overlooked frontline, or “deskless” workers desire the same consideration, flexibility, opportunities, and support the other 30% of the workforce receive. They deserve no less.

The most widespread need is for childcare—an urgent requirement for all families where both parents work, but an especially critical need for single parents.

Sources & Notes