It’s Mother’s Day on Sunday and for most families that means brunch, champs, and cake to celebrate the amazing mums in their lives. This warm and fuzzy feeling doesn’t last too long though, with the working mums returning to their jobs on Monday – marking the start of another week where they’ll battle to maintain that holy work-life balance.
You’d think with all this new technology around it would make life easier, but as it turns out, being constantly switched on only places a greater demand on mums to be ‘available’. And they’re burning out.
So, what can be done to better support mothers in their return to the workforce and help them integrate their home life and career so we don’t lose them?
More qualified women are entering the workforce
Over the last decade, women have become more likely than men to attain a bachelor degree or higher. In 2017, 45% of women in the 25-29 years age group and 32% of men had attained a bachelor degree. Even so, workforce participation and leadership representation lags.
The Department of Jobs and Small Business identified that women working part-time account for 68.7 per cent of all part-time employment, and predicted that in the next five years female participation in the workforce will grow.
Employers should be doing what they can to retain the knowledge, experiences, and perspectives women bring to their workplace. That means introducing initiatives and policies that provide a welcoming workplace women are encouraged to return to after maternity leave.
Ways to provide a parent-friendly workplace
Thankfully, we’ve come a long way since the retirement of the ‘marriage bar’ in 1966 that prevented married women from working! However, employers have mostly been slow in introducing adequate support systems and policies that assist mothers in their return to the workforce.
Some of the more simple ideas might be:
- Part-time return to work or job share
- Childcare discounts, support, or onsite arrangements
- Mother’s rooms for breastfeeding
- Balanced maternity and paternity leave policies; providing a work culture supportive of fathers as equal or primary carers
- Flexible work schedules, like telecommuting, work-from-home, time-in-lieu, early starts / late finishes, or even ditching the use of timesheets and trusting your employees to deliver outcomes!
Whatever it looks like, it doesn’t need to be expensive or time-consuming for staff.
Our team at Gouldson are proud to be a flexible workplace with many of our employees (not just the mums) taking advantage of shorter days and shorter weeks so they can enjoy work-life integration. After all, it’s the quality time we spend with loved ones that matters.