Access to childcare can cost workforce productivity - a solution has arrived
Article3 min15 February 2017
Securing childcare in Australia is increasingly difficult for families and can come at both a financial and personal cost to parents returning to work after a period of parental leave.
Companies too are experiencing a positive impact on the productivity of their employees facing the stress of finding childcare as they transition back to work from parental leave.
With more than 50% of 2 and 3-year-olds attending childcare, it’s no wonder that over 55,000 Australian children are turned away from childcare centres due to a lack of places – according to data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
Imagine the cost of workforce productivity due to employees not being able to return to work from parental leave because they have been unable to find a suitable childcare arrangement. Then there’s the issue of recruiting staff to businesses that don’t have the ability to provide the sought after benefit of access to childcare.
We are now in the midst of the peak time for childcare stress (in November to January birth rates spike) when parents are seeking to return to work and businesses prepare for year ahead. So it is timely that Australia’s biggest landlord is offering a solution to help employees and companies alike.
A significant concern for companies was the ability for their employees to return to work productively and gain access to childcare
Dexus has partnered with Guardian Early Learning Group (Guardian) to provide priority access to available childcare places within Guardian centres. This arrangement is available to everyone who works in a Dexus managed building seeking high quality learning environments for their children, close to their home or workplace.
More and more property companies like Dexus are looking for ways to extend their service offering beyond the bricks and mortar of the building that their customers occupy. For Dexus, providing flexibility for business and greater convenience for their customers’ employees plays a big part.
Deborah Coakley, Executive General Manager, Customer and Marketing at Dexus explains that the partnership came about a result of a dialogue with a number of corporates around Australia who are in Dexus office buildings in the CBDs of Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth.
“Part of the conversation we had with our customers was about the business pains that they were experiencing. What we heard was a significant concern for companies was the ability for their employees to return to work productively and gain access to childcare.
“Our partnership with Guardian gives our customers the opportunity to better access childcare at one of Australia’s leading childcare providers, and through our scale we are reaching out to a great many people who are potentially facing the stress of securing a spot on childcare waitlists.”
While some space providers have arrangements in place with their tenants and a childcare centre within a building, the Dexus-Guardian partnership provides a portfolio wide approach and is one of a kind in Australia.
There are a number of Guardian centres within Dexus buildings and recognising that demand for childcare places will grow in line with business expansion, Dexus will be offering access to its office buildings to build new centres which will increase the number of childcare spaces available to Dexus customers.
For families navigating their way around securing childcare, it’s not a simple and easy task. As Deborah explains, “It’s a bit of a chess board when it comes to availability as families will have different requirements and there’s a lot of moves that need to take place to secure the outcome.
“We wanted to make the service simple and easy which is why our partnership with Guardian works so well as a centralised service where a placement can effectively be made on a number of centre waitlists in just one call.
“The choice of where you want your child in childcare is quite personal with some people wanting the centre to be close to work and some close to home. The great thing about Guardian and their 90 plus centres is that they are spread across both the CBDs and suburbs of all of the major capital cities of Australia, which gives our customers options,” added Deborah.
Not surprisingly, this initiative has been popular with people who work in Dexus buildings. The types of companies where employees have taken up this program so far include financial services, superannuation, legal and professional services companies.
A month into the program, a number of placements have been made for those customers who have gained priority access to available childcare spaces and the number of applications is growing week on week.
While larger organisations can afford to have these arrangements for their employees, this childcare solution has not been available until now to small to medium sized enterprises.
“To be able to give our customers a ‘big end of town’ service is really meaningful,” concludes Deborah.
For more information or to book a tour of your preferred Guardian childcare centre today, visit dexus.com/childspace