Here's How You Can Welcome Women Returning From Maternity Leave
There’s nothing more challenging and rewarding than motherhood. Imagine a 22-hour work schedule, day after day, cooking, cleaning and tending to a little bundle of joy who suddenly becomes your whole universe!
Now imagine getting back to work just after three months. A young mother would have just begun recovering from a significant life event. She has to figure who’ll keep your baby safe, fed and happy when she isn’t around – something that keeps her awake at nights if she has a nuclear family. She has to also rearrange her finances to accommodate demands from the expensive new addition to the family. And all these are just generic scenarios. We haven’t even mentioned single or adoptive mothers who have so many more challenges.
Juggling parenting and presentations and performing to meet everybody’s expectations isn’t an easy job. A woman has to choose every day, whether, at that moment, she will be a mother or a marketing manager or a wife or a house cleaner. Which is why, women who have it in their power, choose to quit work after motherhood. They are made to believe that it is better to be good at one thing than fail at everything.
This can be avoided. With just a little tweaking of policies, workplaces can make it friendly for women to get back to the job after motherhood. Here’s how you can do it for your company.
Ways To Welcome Women At The Workplace Post Motherhood
There's a lot you can do to ensure that the new mothers feel absolutely comfortable returning to their workplace! Let's look at some of them.
1. Friendly Maternity Leave Policies
Offer a minimum of 16 weeks – 6 months of fully paid maternity leave. This procedure will ensure that women are more willing and prepared to get back to work when the time comes. By the end of six months, a mother can be guilt-free when getting her child off the exclusive breastfeeding routine too. It also offers invaluable financial support that a new mother requires. New mothers don’t tend to switch jobs quickly especially if they find their comfort zone. Showing that you have mother-friendly policies will help them stay longer with you.
2. Offer Meaningful Work
Becoming a mother, no doubt, shifts priorities. But if you give her low profile responsibilities, she’ll find lesser meaning in connecting the job to her career. It’ll only be a way for her to collect her paycheck at the end of the month. It is important to make women feel valuable by giving them responsibilities that they can handle as per their said skill sets. After all, it gives them back their confidence and faith in their abilities.
3. Re-skilling To Enter The Workforce
There could be quite a few changes in working styles and functions during the six months women are away from work. It is important to bring her up to speed with the help of reskilling programs. This will help her adapt to the change without feeling overwhelmed.
4. 'Buddy Program' To Welcome Women After Maternity
Introduce a ‘welcome-back’ buddy to a woman joining after a break. The buddy can help her adapt to the changes that could have occurred while she was away. Additionally, it helps women share their emotional burdens, and focus more on the work at hand.
5. Flexibility At Work
This is one of the most significant advantages you can offer to a mother returning to work. Your prime requirement is to get the job done – irrespective of whether it is done between feeds and diaper changes! Allowing women to work from home on select days puts both of you at ease.
6. Allow Part-time Work
Not all women may be ready for an 8-hour work day and 2 hours of commute in just 3-6 months of having a child. Instead, welcome them back with a part-time work option for the first year which will give them enough guilt-free time for both work and family.
7. Promote Meritocracy
A woman should never feel left out of a promotion because she chose motherhood. If her work output is proportional to the hours she puts in, she does deserve all the merits and perks that come with the job, just like her male counterparts. Make sure you reward her appropriately!
8. Adoption Reimbursements
While we speak about mothers, it is not just the act of childbirth that makes someone a mother. Some adoptive mothers need an equal amount of support. Adoption is also a noble task that not only adds a new member to a family but saves a child from being an orphan. Encourage it by introducing an adoption reimbursement for both your male and female employees.
9. Paid Time-off Every Year
Everyone deserves a break. A paid time off allows a mother to spend quality time with her child, making up for the time she wasn’t around. It is an extremely valuable perk to a job, and you’ll only get back a more loyal, calm and happy employee to work with.
10. Welcome Them Warmly
You could also surprise her with a unique and warm gesture, like unique birth announcement plaques, to convey that you welcome her with her new priorities!
As a society, we need to strive towards making mothers guilt-free for the choices they make, whether it is to work part time, full time or not take up a job at all. We also need to ensure that we extend full support to the working mother. After all, it is one of the toughest jobs in the world.