Editor’s note: Rob Volpe is CEO and founder of consumer insight firm Ignite 360, San Francisco. This is an edited version of a post that originally appeared under the title, “The challenge is real for parents trying to work from home.” 

The pandemic fosters dreams of life returning to normal. That doesn’t mean it’s the normal that was, it’s the normal that’s yet to be.

Our Navigating to a New Normal study has found 18% of people want to go back to their lives exactly as they were before 2020. However, one group was slightly more desirous than the rest – parents who suddenly found themselves working from home due to COVID-19 (21%).

We decided to investigate.

Of the parents who suddenly found themselves working from home, it’s those with the highest income and education levels reporting the greatest impact. 

Personal impact

Looking at the charts below, we found that parents with a higher education level reported having a more serious/severe COVID-19 personal impact. Similarly, those parents with a higher household income level also indicated that they experienced a more serious/severe COVID-19 personal impact.


High income/higher education parents may be experiencing what could be described as a double whammy. For the first time, they are working and parenting full-time, at home. 

And the burden of keeping kids occupied while working from home goes to … mom!


For parents who normally WFH, keeping the kids occupied isn’t a big challenge. However, parents who are suddenly working from home due to COVID-19 are finding it hard with a capital H. And it is moms who are finding it the most challenging (61%).


It’s falling on moms to take care of the kids while working from home.

One activity to keep you and/or your kids occupied

For the qualitative portion of our research, we invited our parent participants to do a short interview with their kids about the highlights of summer. Whether you have kids or not, we encourage you to try the activity. We’re sharing our Summer 2020 pictures here.


Take pictures of three things or activities that represent your summer of 2020! 

Follow-up questions to ask 

  1. Tell me what you took pictures of and why you chose that.
  2. What is the one thing you are most looking forward to doing this summer (2020)?
  3. If you could choose just one word to describe how this summer is different from previous summers, what would it be? And why?  
  4. What are you not able to do this summer (2020) that you are bummed to be missing? What makes that so special that you are bummed about it?
  5. Summer activities – leagues, sports, arts, camps, etc. – may look different this summer than others.
    • If this applies to you, how is it different this year from others?
    • What do you like about that?
    • What do you not like about that?
    • If you were in charge, what’s one thing you would change about it?
    • Has it impacted/changed anything for your family? Describe.
  6. If COVID-19 were an animal or a character, what/who would it be, and why did you choose that animal or character?
  7. What do you think about masks?
    • Do you like wearing one, or no? Why?
    • Are there any really cool masks you’ve seen? Describe it.

And on some fun topics …

  1. Assume there is no coronavirus. If you could go ANYWHERE on vacation right now, where would you go and why? 
  2. What is your all-time favorite summer treat? What do you like about it?
  3. If you were a flavor of ice cream, which one would you be and why?