Supporting Working Mothers During the Pandemic
As we reach one year of the pandemic’s arrival in the United States, working women are feeling the impact more than ever. The increased household responsibilities have forced many working mothers —especially Black and Latinx mothers — to scale back on their hours or leave the workforce entirely during the pandemic, further economic and racial disparities. According to the National Women’s Law Center, 100% of jobs lost in December were held by women. Since February 2020, more than 2.3 million women have left the workforce and 1 in 4 are considering leaving.
While many of these issues are systemic and bigger than just your organization, there are things you can do to support your employees. Here are some ideas:
- Create an open and flexible work environment – The most important thing employers can do is provide flexibility. Allow- and encourage- employees to take off as necessary and adjust their working hours. Allowing employees to set their schedules can alleviate anxiety and help them be more productive. Be forgiving if a child or pet makes a guest appearance on a video call or if an employee opts to do a voice-only chat. Check what is working well and what could be improved, then ask employees for their feedback. Encourage employees to be honest and share their concerns. As a leader, you should listen with empathy and recognize everyone’s situation will be different. Check-in on employees’ wellbeing frequently and adjust workloads as needed.
- Provide support – As many children are not back in-person full-time yet, childcare is likely a big concern for working parents. Childcare subsidies can provide significant relief, especially to working parents who may not otherwise be able to afford help. UrbanSitter is a great tool to connect working parents with reliable caregivers and can offer tax breaks for employers. Organizations can support their employees by offering mental health initiatives in their EAPs. These can include counseling, coaching, nutritional support, and access to wellness or mediation apps. Additionally, review your insurance policies and consider a plan with minimal cost mental health care.
- Put your people over productivity – As many employees are still working from home, it’s nearly impossible to separate work from home lives in the way we could before. Employers should lead with empathy and be understanding. Your employees want to work for an organization that genuinely cares about its people, and potential future talent will likely want to know how you support them during difficult times. Burnout will only cost your organization in the long run, so show your current and future employees that it’s okay to be human.
Are your employees, especially working parents, struggling with burnout and balance? Fill out the form below to connect with our Wellness experts for additional support: