Nearly half of the American workforce is female. And estimates are that nearly 85 percent of those women either are or will become mothers. In a tightening labor market, it’s more important than ever for companies to have “mom-friendly” workplaces if they want to attract and keep some of their best talent.
With Mother’s Day around the corner, here are three Quality of Lifehacks for building a welcoming environment for working mothers.
Make it easy for moms to pump. One of the most important things for many new moms is to be able to continue to provide breast milk for their children after they return to work. While there are regulations and laws requiring companies to provide facilities for women to pump, research indicates 60 percent of new mothers who return to work after giving birth don’t have access to private space and the breaks they need to do it.
Provide the moms in your workplace with a private room with a sink, breast pumps and a refrigerator, preferably with a comfortable chair, warm blanket and soft lighting. And make sure they are getting breaks to use it.
Provide flexibility. Working mothers are juggling many balls, with pediatrician appointments, soccer games, parent-teacher meetings and other commitments. That doesn’t mean they aren’t passionately committed to their work or don’t want to advance their careers. A little flexibility can go a long way. Whether it’s offering part-time, condensed work week, flexible hours, telecommuting or job-sharing, the moms in your organization need to feel like they don’t have to choose between work and family. The payoff will be more engaged, loyal and productive employees.
Ensure your family-friendly policies are more than just words. Many organizations talk a great game when it comes to having a culture that is friendly to working mothers. But when you dig a little deeper, you find their people aren’t taking advantage of the programs. Why? Often it’s because they think they’ll be viewed as less committed if they do. Studies show gender bias among managers when women ask for flexibility in their work schedules.
Make sure your leaders walk the talk and educate your managers about why you have these policies – and why it is important that they empower their working moms to take advantage of the benefits you offer.
Share in the comments section below how your workplace creates a welcoming environment for mothers.