VIU Professor Researching Work-Life Balance of Employed Parents During Pandemic

Dr. Laura Gover

Dr. Laura Gover says some employed parents have found "innovative solutions" for balancing work and child care during the COVID-19 pandemic. Photo Credit: Vancouver Island University

November 26, 2021 - 3:15pm

The goal is to identify why some working parents are reporting lower levels of stress than others.

Vancouver Island University (VIU) Professor Dr. Laura Gover is researching how employed Canadians with kids are coping with work-family demands during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

“Understanding the lived experience of these individuals and how they have coped will help us identify what’s working and what’s not,” says Gover, a Faculty of Management Professor. “This can then inform recommendations for families, employers, and governments around how best to support this important contingent of the labour force.”

Gover received a $50,204 grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council to support the research. She says receiving the grant demonstrates "that others recognize the value and importance of this research about how employed parents are coping with pandemic-induced stressors and changes to work-life arrangements.”

She received the grant along with two co-applicants: Michael Halinski from Carleton University and Linda Duxbury from Ryerson University.

The overall goal of the research, entitled, “Coping with Work and Childcare during COVID-19,” is to identify why some working parents are reporting lower levels of stress than others, as well as answer two key questions: How do employed parents cope effectively with the stressors they encounter because of the pandemic and what impacts do other factors such as job, gender, supports and government policies have on the effectiveness of various coping strategies?

The research builds on the group’s 2021 COVID-19 Employee Well-Being survey, which garnered 20,000 responses. Through a select sample of survey respondents, Gover and her colleagues seek to answer the questions driving their research. The funding will allow them to interview 100 employed parents who have been forced into emergency teleworking.

At this stage of the research, Gover says she’s already discovered many employed parents can see the benefits related to the changes to work and family life that have been brought on by the pandemic.

“It seems that, for many, this change has led them to identify innovative solutions for how to balance work and child care,” says Gover.

However, she adds, the research has also confirmed “that it is hard to be a both a parent and an employee. Trying to navigate work and family responsibilities is a major stressor for many employed Canadians.”

Gover and her colleagues plan to begin interviews in January 2022, with the goal of having them all complete by the summer. Data analysis will be ongoing and knowledge dissemination activities are planned for fall 2022 and into spring 2023.

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MEDIA CONTACT:

Eric Zimmer, Communications Officer, Vancouver Island University

P: 250.618.7296 | E: Eric.Zimmer@viu.ca


Tags: Research