With over 73 million working women in the United States as of December 2014, having mom-friendly workplace policies doesn’t just make good sense from a morale standpoint – it’s simply good business.
Developing and implementing the types of policies that support all families, and mothers in particular can be challenging for businesses of all sizes. In particular, start-ups and small businesses may not be able to afford the most expensive options, due to limited funds.
However, not all mom-friendly workplace policies require a large outlay of capital. With a little creativity and cooperation between management and employees, successful compromises can be found.
Providing flexibility in the days and hours that people work can provide a huge benefit for not just mothers, but the entire company. While setting up a formal flex-time policy through HR can be complicated if you have a significant number of employees, it may be possible to set up a more informal approach.
For example, instead of having a company-wide policy that allows people to work whatever hours they wish, you could implement a policy that allows for flex-time on an as-needed basis. This can provide mothers with the time they need to adjust to the new demands of juggling their work obligations along with family obligations.
As an added bonus, it also provides other members of your staff the ability to take care of personal situations in a way that is minimally disruptive to your workplace.
Telecommuting & Remote Work
How much of the day-to-day work at your company really needs to be done onsite? Telecommuting and remote work teams are becoming more commonplace, especially in SaaS companies where employees may be spread around the globe.
But even a local brick & mortar store can often have telecommuting opportunities for people who fill administrative and support positions, as well as technical support and development positions. Offering even a partial telecommute option for moms in these positions (say, 2 or 3 days per week) can go a long way to building a mom-friendly workplace environment.
While obviously not suited for every type of work environment, some companies have baby days, or a baby friendly policy that allows mothers (and fathers!) to care for their child while at work.
If you decide to go this route, you’ll need to consider safety precautions as well as ways to allow fussy babies and toddlers to get the attention they need without distracting the entire office.
For larger companies, onsite daycare can provide the ideal solution for busy families. For breastfeeding mothers in particular, this is an attractive solution as it allows them to continue with their breastfeeding schedule while still being able to contribute fully at the office.
Plus, having an onsite daycare means the commute is streamlined for everyone – and who doesn’t see the appeal of less time in traffic?
Breastfeeding Mothers Room
For companies where baby days and onsite daycare aren’t an option, there are still ways to support mothers of young children. In particular, a breastfeeding mothers room can allow all the moms who choose to breastfeed a viable option for continuing to do so, even after returning to the workforce.
For this, implementation is easy – mothers simply need a clean, quiet, private room in which to use their breast pump. The addition of a refrigerator for proper storage can quickly turn a small office into the ideal breastfeeding mothers room.
Support & Inclusion
Though all of these options for supporting working mothers are great ways to help create a mom-friendly in the workplace, never forget that the biggest way to show support is to be inclusive. Let everyone have a say-so in developing company policies that will impact their work, including mothers.
By fostering an environment that welcomes the opinions, perspectives, and ideals of everyone on the team, you will find that mom-friendly policies become that much easier to implement across the board.