Assisting new moms in the workplace is key to retaining top talent. Often, new mothers feel stressed due to their recent life-changing experience.
Therefore, you can only imagine how stressful it can be to return to the office and become a working parent. That’s why a simple transition is a strong recommendation when supporting new mothers in the office.
When you ease their return, new mothers will be excited to come back to work and you’ll help them feel more valued as an employee. Consider these top methods for helping new mothers in the office and use them to create a healthier work-life balance for all.
According to Mayo Clinic Health System, over 50% of new moms return to work after maternity leave.
Most new mothers feel vulnerable when leaving their children behind when they return to work. It’s often a stressful time for them. Therefore, you can support a recent mother by discussing her leave as early as possible.
Early planning for maternity leave can alleviate some of that stress. You can discuss plans for how closely she wants to work up to her due date and how long she plans to take leave.
You may even want to discuss flexibility for new parents if your company offers it. These could include working remotely on certain days or allowing them to leave early for appointments.
Each woman has different plans. It’s essential that you listen to her needs and allow her to set the tone for changes in her schedule.
New mothers need empathy from coworkers and employers. They still want to feel appreciated as an employee, even when their return takes a bit longer than they might have thought.
For instance, providing new mothers with a gift card is a delightful surprise. They will feel the support, showing that you care about their presence in the office. Additionally, it’s a nice gesture they will certainly appreciate.
Another way to instill empathy in the office is to ask them what the managers can do to help or what they need. Every family situation is unique. Therefore, you may not want to assume what you think would relieve their stress.
While you may not be able to accommodate every request, you can still try to be as flexible as possible with her working schedule.
Part of assisting new mothers is implementing a wellness program to keep their satisfaction high within the office.
Introducing such a plan can benefit the workplace by taking note of the new parent’s mental, physical and emotional needs. Wellness programs also benefit the company since they help keep healthcare costs under control.
You could also consider implementing a group healthcare plan with extra wellness benefits. These benefits could include fitness center discounts, health coaching services or a 24-hour nurse hotline.
Offering these perks can be an effective stress reliever for new parents and employees.
New mothers can feel disconnected from work after being out of the office for some time. Ensure your employees aren’t feeling forgotten or unneeded by making a check-in call or sending an email.
The purpose of these phone calls is to provide a sense of community for them. Therefore, it’s best to avoid discussing work or pressuring them to return to the office sooner than planned.
Instead, focus on the new mother’s and baby’s well-being. Ask how the family is doing and consider requesting photos to share in the office. You could also encourage new parents to bring their babies into the workplace.
If the new mom asks about how work is going, ensure you tell her everything is going well and that you look forward to her return.
Providing workplace support for nursing moms is especially important. Creating a space — other than a bathroom — ensures privacy and allows new moms to feel comfortable when it’s time to pump.
When you provide a dedicated space for nursing mothers, you can expect a higher return on investment.
According to Pew Research, one in five people become stay-at-home parents — and mothers make up the majority. However, those same mothers would consider returning to work if their workplaces were more accommodating. Therefore, assistance for nursing mothers can result in lower turnover rates, lower absenteeism, higher productivity and lower healthcare costs.
If your office has limited reserving space for pumping, consider working with human resources to create a sign-up sheet for a dedicated room.
New mothers need you to back them up at work. Many of them leave their jobs because they feel their office environment doesn’t encourage their new lives.
Consider devising a plan, working with HR and the expectant mother and finding out how you can accommodate their needs before and after maternity leave. Flexibility is critical in the workplace and they will need your support to create a better future for everyone.
This article reflects the views of the author and not necessarily those of Fairygodboss.
Ava Roman, Managing Editor of Revivalist, writes about lifestyle, wellness, and woman's topics. When she is not writing you'll find Ava in a yoga class, advocating for body positivity, or smashing the patriarchy.