No doubt, this pandemic has challenged us all. It has pushed us to our limits, often increasing responsibilities while decreasing our support systems. No one has felt this more than working parents and mothers. As the workplace begins to re-open, it is an important time to consider how your organization can to best support working parents.
Here are 5 simple things you can do to make this next chapter better and healthier for the working parents on your teams:
1. Establish CWH’s: Common Working Hours. Avoid Planning Meetings Outside of CWH.
If this means 9 – 5 for your team, stick to that. If it means something else, great. The goal is to establish boundaries and keep expected work within that time frame. Avoid scheduling meetings before or after your Common Working Hours. Limit any extra work events outside that time frame as well. Communicating clearly when you expect your team to be working will help provide balance for all, especially working parents.
2. Create Tech-Availability Programs.
As a compliment to Common Working Hours, you may want to create Tech-Available Times. Just because you avoid scheduling meetings outside of Common Working Hours doesn’t mean workers aren’t connected and working during that ‘off time’. This is typically due to the expectation that if an email is received, it should have an immediate response, even if at night or on a weekend.
Creating boundaries and expectations around when an employee should be available via technology compliments the efforts of creating Common Working Hours. One small thing managers can do to help avoid burnout and fatigue is to allow employees to have their own time. Managers can easily establish tech-availability by placing a footer with the signature on an email saying “No response expected if this email is received outside of normal working hours. Please respond during our Common Working Hours.”
3. Use Technology to Create Flexibility
Technology is a great connector. It helps enable teams to be effective and efficient even when remote. Find and select the key pieces of technology that best support your function. Then embrace it for your team to allow for some continued flexibility as parents return to working in the office. The Washington Post noted that parents are reluctant to return to the office. Consider a gradual return and allow for some continued remote work. This hybrid approach may help you retain top employees and avoid the attrition many firms are experiencing.
4. Include Fathers and Partners in Maternity Benefits
There are many ways children come into our lives and many different configurations of families. Consider reviewing your maternity leave policies with an eye towards inclusion. This acknowledges and respects the role all new parents play, regardless of whether they carried the child themselves.
5. Create a Sanitary, Supportive, and Functional Lactation Space
Talk to pregnant employees about lactation space in advance of their return to work. For those mothers and parents who choose to breastfeed, returning to work means pumping as a regular part of the work day. Creating a legally compliant, clean, and functional lactation room for employees not only enables employees to stay engaged and productive, but signals how much you value them and prioritize health within your organization. Retrofitting space to create a supportive lactation room within your workplace creates savings on employee health care and employee retention.
Those who are breastfeeding need to pump 2-4 times a day. An average pumping session takes 20 minutes. Setting up a sanitary and comfortable mother’s room at work is crucial to physical and mental health for breastfeeding workers.
A fully functional lactation room at your workplace will provide private refrigeration and running water for comfortable and proper milk storage and sanitation of pumping equipment. By enabling new mothers to make the pumping experience sanitary and productive, you are helping your breastfeeding employees to stay engaged, healthy, and happy at work.
This article was written and published by the experts at Nestl.