More often than not, women are choosing to be working moms. In fact, women are predicted to take the majority of the workforce by 2018 and are currently outnumber men attending postgraduate programs (Department of Labor Statistics).
Does your business support mothers? Learn from the following tips on how your business can create a healthy workplace for working moms that generate better results from your employees. These tips do not have to be costly, but simply require a creative mindset for the employer of the 21st Century.
1) Provide or support childcare assistance. Childcare does not have to be onsite, and offering your employees a list of convenient resources can be tremendously helpful, such as Nurture Nannies, one of our favorite local green businesses. But, more and more companies are discovering the benefits of offering on-site daycare to employees: less absenteeism, lower turnover and increased productivity, for starters. Kars4Kids, a car donation charity in New Jersey, is one organization that offers this benefit to its employees, many of whom are parents, and is reaping the benefits. Unilever, the global company behind so many familiar brands from Dove to Lipton, offers a similar benefit: backup childcare for the days that an employee’s regular childcare provider is unavailable.
2) For nursing moms, breast-feeding support is important by providing a space for mothers to pump milk during the day. Reed Smith is one example of a business who supports mothers in this way: a new mother’s room awaits moms when they return from their 18-week parental leave. And Ernst and Young will ship mom’s breast milk home when she’s away on a business trip.
3) Implementing a successful babies-at-work program is not easy but small companies like Vanguard Communications, a Washington, D.C.-based, Latina-owned public relations and social marketing firm, have proven that it can be done.
4) Parental Education. No challenge is too great when you know you’re not alone. Sharing experiences with other parents of young children and hearing from people who have been there and been successful is a priceless benefit. Unilever is one company that gives employees this opportunity with its Working Parents’ Network.
5) Health Benefits. Maintaining good health is important but too often neglected with the distractions of everyday life. Besides for its three health and wellness centers, TIAA-Cref, a financial services organization, offers health insurance to even part-time employees working a minimum of 21 hours a week.
6) Perhaps most necessary for working parents is the availability of flexible work arrangements. Flextime allows employees to rearrange their schedules as necessary, getting the same amount of work done but at times that are convenient for them. Telecommuting gives employees the option of working from home. Jobsharing, less common, divides one full-time job and its accompanying salary between two part-time workers. Even accounting firms, known for their demanding schedules, can work with employees in this area: Deloitte boasts that 90% of its employees work flexibly.
7) Provide parental leave. Europe’s got us beat on this one. For example, in the Czech Republic and Slovakia, it is standard that mothers stay at home for 3 years after a child’s birth, which may extend with additional children. Mothers can decide to take 2, 3 or 4 years of maternity leave. Only four countries have no national law mandating paid time off for new parents: Liberia, Papua New Guinea, Swaziland, and the United States. In the U.S., the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA) mandates up to 12 weeks of (potentially unpaid) job-protected leave, including parental leave, for many American workers. Subnational laws also vary; for example the U.S. state of California does mandate paid family leave, including parental leave for same-sex partners.
8) Some companies are taking parental leave a step further by offering a reintegration period when new parents return from leave, making their adjustment smoother. Intel’s New Parent Reintegration program allows employees to temporarily modify their work schedule for a defined period of time after returning to work.
9) Truly family-friendly workplaces invite employees’ families to the office for fun family events where they can socialize and build a feeling of community among colleagues. Children of employees at Contact Solutions, a hosted customer service provider, enjoy periodic Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Days at the company’s headquarters in Virginia.
10) Ask your employee working moms! As always, the best way you can support your team is by asking them what kind of working arrangement will best allow them to be productive while living a balanced life as a mother. You’ll be glad you did!
Several of these tips were taken from the blog: http://www.workingmomsagainstguilt.com/