Princess of Wales, Kate Middleton, has called on employers to prioritize workplace wellbeing, emphasizing the crucial role they play in helping parents balance successful careers with nurturing home lives for their children. This week, Kate launched the Business Taskforce for Early Childhood, encouraging business leaders to support parents and caregivers.
In an article for FT Weekend, Kate highlighted the importance of investing in early childhood as "a down payment for our collective future." She hopes that global firms joining her taskforce will inspire businesses across the nation to train and support staff in maintaining their social and emotional welfare, benefiting both work and home life.
Kate explained in her article, "Our resilience, flexibility, ability to manage stress and remain motivated when facing challenges are all shaped by the foundations we build in early childhood." She noted that not enough emphasis is placed on social and emotional development, nor on creating environments that nurture these skills during childhood and beyond.
With parental wellbeing being the most significant factor in a child's wellbeing, and knowing that parenting young children is stressful for nearly 75% of people, Kate underscored the importance of recognizing the challenges faced by working parents. She cited that 76% of mothers and 92% of fathers with children in the UK are employed, emphasizing the role of employers in facilitating a work-life balance for them.
Kate identified two essential actions: creating work environments that support individuals in cultivating and maintaining their social and emotional wellbeing, and focusing more on the social and emotional development of young children.
She expressed hope that the taskforce, over the coming months, will explore opportunities to place early years at the heart of the "social" element. She emphasized that while individual businesses are doing great work, a more coordinated approach across business and commerce could have a far-reaching impact. Kate urged businesses to embrace this issue, including the long-term effects of better early childhood experiences on their organizations, in order to transform lives for generations to come.
Earlier this week, Kate attended the taskforce's inaugural meeting, which included members from Unilever, Ikea, NatWest, and Lego. The initiative follows the launch of her Shaping Us project, aimed at raising awareness of early childhood development and described as her "life's work."