Moving away from remote working is costing parents more than £600 extra per month in childcare, Sky News has learned.
Figures shared by Pebble, a flexible childcare service, show that half of the 2,000 parents polled said they were planning on quitting their jobs as a result.
A third said they have already moved to a company with more flexible working.
The research indicates that employers are requesting an additional two days per week in the office.
Two in five parents said they are subsequently struggling to pay the extra childcare costs.
Figures given to Sky News from the professional networking site, LinkedIn, also show that remote job postings have gone down by 28% since August 2021 – the height of the pandemic.
The number of hybrid job postings, however, has gone up by 34% compared with the same period last year.
Statistics from Adzuna, the jobs website, also show the proportion of hybrid vacancies is at nearly 20%, compared to less than 1% in January 2020.
Remote working job adverts are down to just over 5% from a peak of more than 14% in February 2021.
Kevin Ellis, chair and senior partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers, a professional services company which has 26,000 UK staff, told Sky News the company is sticking with its two to three days in the office rule.
That has not changed since 2020 because the company values what it describes as “consistency”.
Mr Ellis added, however, that going into the office more would help further careers.
“I wouldn’t change it from two to three days a week,” he said, “because I think it’s really hard to message 26,000 people a kind of moving target.
“So I’ll stay with two to three days a week as our policy.
“If asked a personal question, ‘what would you do to make your career more successful?’… I’d say come in more, learn through observation, learn through building networks, and actually meet your mates in the office.”
Sarah, not her real name, has told Sky News she was forced to quit her job at a tech company after they rolled back on remote working.
She was recruited during COVID and worked mostly from home.
She said the company decided this year they wanted her to work from the office three days a week but because of her commute and childcare times it was “impossible”.
“I literally couldn’t do that job anymore. It just wasn’t possible,” she said.
“There are not enough hours in the day for me to be able to be a good worker, be a good mum, let alone have time for myself.
“I was sat there trying to figure out all the hours and the amount of spreadsheets… and calendars I was looking at down to the minute.
“‘(I was thinking to myself) ‘If I dropped (my daughter) off at that time, and I get to the train station at that time’.
“There are only a certain number of hours in the day, right?”
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Sarah faced a four-hour long commute per day and said she “had no choice but to leave” the company she worked for.
The charity Pregnant Then Screwed is highlighting how the childcare landscape has changed dramatically since COVID.
The cost has rocketed alongside fewer available places and reduction in hours for services.
It has meant remote working has become necessary for many parents.
Joeli Brearley, founder of the charity, said a lot of people being told to return to the office would have been recruited at a time when positions were “much more flexible”.
She has described it as a “disaster for working parents and a disaster for the economy”.
Ms Brearley said: “To suddenly pull the rug out means that the costs for those parents will drastically increase… because you’re looking at a childcare bill of £14,000 a year for a full time place.”
She added: “When we know there are real issues with availability ultimately it means you have to lose your job/reduce hours because you cannot cope with the cost or get the childcare you need.”
Ngaire Moyes, LinkedIn UK country manager, said the rise in hybrid working posts on the site demonstrates “just how much hybrid has become a part of mainstream working life”.
She described how businesses and employees are seeking “to get the best of both worlds”.
“There are many advantages to remote work, but it’s not without its challenges,” she continued.
“There is some work that simply lends itself better to being done in-person – be that collaborative or creative work, as well as some training and development.”
She said that some feel “strongly about maintaining the flexibility they gained during the pandemic”.
“It gives people a much better work life balance,” she added, “and many believe they can be just as productive working from home for some of the time.”