Statistics reveal that 25 percent of women in India hit the pause button on their careers after having a child. While many mothers voluntarily choose to take a career break, others are forced to put their career on the backburner post-motherhood, simply because most workplaces today are not ready for working moms. So what does it take to build a working mom-friendly workplace?
#1 Providing flexibility and work-life balance
Flexibility is the keyword in making your workplace working mom-friendly. Thanks to technology, workplace flexibility is no longer a puzzle. Today, most organisations can afford to offer employees the flexibility to work from home or remote locations, depending on their organisational role. Be sure to give working moms the flexibility to choose a fixed number of work hours every week and work on their own schedule.
Sometimes household errands and caregiving tasks can get in the way of work hours. It is the employer’s duty to respect working moms’ needs in such scenarios, without letting the job expectations or deliverables suffer. It helps, if working mothers are given sufficient lead time on tasks so they can balance home and work-life well. It also helps to mutually consent on the timelines of deliverables beforehand, so they can choose how they strike a balancing act between caregiving and work.
# 2 Connecting employees with childcare solutions
It is essential to ensure that working mothers have access to the right childcare, daycare, or after-school children’s nanny services, so they can get back to their job in full swing. This way, thoughts on how their kids are doing are not always on their mind while they are at work. Many new-age employers are going out of their way to help working mothers connect with the right childcare provider. Some have in-office child care facilities and have partnered with childcare solutions for the same, while others pay for employee childcare services. Some other organisations are even reimbursing the expense of hiring a caregiver and taking the child on business trips on a need-basis. This way, working moms do not have to limit their career options or opportunities, or find themselves in a position where they have to choose between a job that requires them to take business trips and staying at home with their child.
#3 No-guilt paid leaves
Working mothers often think multiple times before taking time off, simply because they do not want to come across as if they are not dedicated to their work. Giving working moms the flexibility to take leaves when they need, so they can take care of unforeseen issues without going on a guilt-trip is important; when employers value the needs of their employees, the employees are bound to reciprocate the gesture.
#4 Wellness comes first
Take a typical 9-to-5 job and throw in parental responsibilities like calming a kid in it’s terrible-two’s in the middle of the night, sorting out scuffles between children turning the house upside down, taking children to a doctor’s appointment, helping them with schoolwork, and the list goes on. You see why it is very easy for working mothers to burn out? Interestingly, employers can do more than they usually do to ease the situation. It takes something as simple as in-office yoga or fitness classes to give working mothers a window to de-stress at or after-work. Employers should take the lead and organise wellness activities for working mothers so it serves as a stress-buster. On-site amenities such as a nap room to rest and a special room for nursing mothers are indispensable. Employers should note that wellness has a key impact on productivity and happiness, making it an essential step toward building a working mom-friendly organisation.
#5 Keeping the motivation
Juggling between work and home is a herculean task, and even a little bit of motivation can go a long way. No doubt, those yearly perks and awards you give out to employees add to their motivation, but without the right manager-employee dynamics and rapport, workplace satisfaction takes a hit. Be sure managers in your workplace take time to appreciate the working mothers on their team. Timely recognitions can be a great way to let working moms know that they are making a valuable difference in the organisation.
While we’re on the subject, we cannot ignore the fact that many employers think twice before offering working mothers substantial roles in the organisation. Working mothers are discriminated on the notion that they may not be able to put in as many hours, due to which they land weak projects that are not of importance or add much value to the organisation. Without the support of managers in taking up aspirational roles, the retention numbers among working mothers automatically suffer. Take the technology sector, for example, statistics reveal that 40 percent of young recruits are women, while the number only declined from there on as we moved up the ladder, with just 20 percent women in the middle management and a meagre 10 percent in leadership positions. If anything, employers should offer working mothers the right avenues to move up the career ladder whether it is by being impartial while considering working mothers for senior roles, or by providing them leadership training opportunities. Employers should look at empowering their working mothers by eliminating roadblocks and discrimination at the workplace. Many multinational and tech companies are taking the step forward to offer women fair opportunities post-maternity through unbiased performance management and equal career opportunities today.
Experiential rewards can be a great addition to your organisational employee strategy as well; they help your employees refuel on motivation and energy. Utilise experiential rewards such as dining, spa, travel, and lifestyle experiences to reward working moms on a job well done. Personalising rewards to individual taste can earn you additional brownie points from your working mom employees!
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