4 Ways to Help Moms Going Back to Work
50% of the US workforce is made up of women. Nearly ¾ of these workers (70%) are moms to minor children. Whether they take a short maternity leave or spend a decade at home raising their children, moms going back to work after growing their families face unique struggles.
As an employer, paying attention to this specific employee demographic can have wonderful benefits for all involved. Learn how to help transition new moms back into the workforce and why doing so is a smart business investment.
Why women leave their careers
There are several reasons as to why women don’t go back to work after the birth of a child. As an employer, knowing these reasons is important. While some women leave the workforce happily and willingly, others feel they have no choice.
If you understand why talented female workers are unable to come back to work, you might be able to provide a solution that works for everyone. Are any of the following reasons able to be remedied in your industry?
The average family will spend nearly $20,000 a year on childcare. For some families, this amount doesn’t line up with their budget and leaves them no choice but to have one parent stay at home.
Between school schedules, sick days, and the unique needs raising children brings, some parents find it too difficult to coordinate their schedules with that of their employer.
Some women plan on leaving the workplace once they start a family before becoming pregnant. While some put a limit on their leave (such as until the child starts school), others never return to their previous careers for personal or cultural reasons.
Why hiring moms is in your best interest
You may feel hesitant to encourage a mom-friendly work environment. Will productivity suffer? Will bottles and playdates come before financial reports and customer service? Don’t give your concerns too much thought. In fact, moms make some of the best employees.
For some, work is their personal oasis away from crying, tantrums, and chicken nuggets. They’re enthusiastic and genuinely excited for the work day. Moms can also multitask, handle chaos, and make the best of any situation.
If you’re looking for employees that can remain professional and productive at all times, considering resumes from moms going back to work is a great place to start.
How you can help moms going back to work
Whether you have a previous employee coming back after maternity leave or you have a new hire who’s been a stay at home mom for several years, there are several things you can do as their employer to make the transition smoother for everyone involved.
Make a plan
When a current employer tells you they’re expecting, work with them right away to come up with a plan that focuses on the remainder of their time at work before they deliver, how their job duties will be handled while they’re on leave, and how they envision their career after baby. Discuss a transition period with more flexibility when they do return as they find a balance between their home life and work.
Be open to remote work
This won’t work for every industry but if you’re able to have new moms work remotely, even if just one day a week, this can make their transition much easier. With one less day of daycare to worry about, working remotely lets new moms focus on getting their work done without juggling morning routines. Even if working remotely isn’t possible on a daily or weekly basis, finding a way to make it work occasionally when a child is sick takes away stress from new moms as well.
Making sure new moms know they have your support is critical. If possible, throw a small in-office baby shower before they deliver. Check in on them while they’re on leave and stay connected with what’s going on in the office. When they are ready to return to work, be empathetic and understanding when they come across the first couple inevitable bumps. You can also make sure you offer benefits that make them more comfortable, like lactation rooms stocked with snacks and bottled water.
Create a parent-friendly culture
Moms face plenty of guilt when returning to work. Make sure there’s no room for negativity in the office when moms reenter the workforce. Have maternity leave policies clearly spelled out in your employee handbook so that all employees know the rights of new parents. If there is any sort of discrimination discovered when a new mom returns to work, take action immediately so all employees know the behavior will not be tolerated.
Becoming a parent is arguably one of the most beautiful yet trying times in a person’s life. As an employer, you have the power to make the difficult moments easier on everyone by creating an environment that welcomes moms going back to work with enthusiasm and support.
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