While motherhood can be incredibly rewarding, it is also a thankless job that demands 24/7/365 dedication and commitment. Mothers in the workplace have taken on an additional professional responsibility on top of their daily obligations associated with child care and housework. Despite this, women can expect to earn, on average, 84% of what their male counterparts take home. They may also face more barriers to their career advancement, due to outdated gender bias and less access to mentorship opportunities.
With Mother’s Day around the corner, what can workplaces do to support hardworking women year-round?
1. Provide Flexible Scheduling
Remote work became standard in 2020, allowing many people to experience life without the stress of a daily commute and extra freedom to work more on their terms. For moms, the shift toward remote work also helped them be more present and accessible for their children – a work-life balance benefit that many women said was more valuable than their salaries.
Instead of expecting all employees to return to the office on a standard 8-to-5 schedule, offering them the option to continue with flexible, hybrid or fully remote work demonstrates trust and communicates that you value them as people.
2. Offer Paid Child Care
Many people who have been fortunate enough to work from home discovered that having control over where, when and how they got tasks accomplished made them more productive. However, for mothers in the workplace, the added expectations of maintaining their full-time job while looking after their kids took an enormous toll on their mental health. One way to ensure these valuable employees don’t burn out is to offer paid child care, which is a rare perk among American employers.
3. Create Opportunities for Women to Lead
Women have many qualities that make them excellent leaders – they tend to be empathetic listeners who are open to taking a collaborative approach. Unfortunately, women might be reluctant to ask for a raise or promotion because they undervalue their work or worry others will judge them harshly. Supporting mothers in the workplace could involve creating a program designed to nurture your female employees’ leadership skills and prepare them to step into management roles.
4. Ask Them What They Need to Succeed
Not all women in the workplace have identical goals and motivations. While working can be profoundly meaningful for ambitious people, don’t make the antiquated assumption that everyone wants to work their way up the corporate ladder into a plush corner office. The definition of what constitutes “rewarding work” is different for everyone. In recognition of this, use employee reviews as an opportunity to ask team members what perks and tools would make them feel appreciated and supported.
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