Ways to support women coming back to work after maternity leave

Did you know that 20% of new mothers dread going back to work

  • The fear forgetting what to do.
  • 23% worry about changes that occurred during their absence. 
  • They worry about leaving their child with someone else. 
  • The thought of juggling being a new parent and going back to work feels overwhelming. 

    All these feelings are valid.

Welcoming a baby is a huge life change and whilst some mothers look forward to getting back into the swing of things at work, many also feel overwhelmed at the prospect of a return to the office. 

Employers can help alleviate some of these worries and make the return to work easier by focusing on the physical, emotional and financial wellbeing of new mothers in their workforce. 

Promote an empathetic and open company culture

TENA surveyed 1000 new mums to find out how they felt about returning to work and the results highlighted the fears many had about how they would be perceived by management and colleagues.

Nearly one in five believed that their peers did not understand the physical and emotional effects of pregnancy and becoming a new mum. Of these, 14% worried that this meant the medical effects of pregnancy and childbirth, such as incontinence, made them appear unprofessional. In addition, 1 in 7 new mums said they felt patronised by colleagues as they acclimatised to juggling work and parenting. 

Businesses can help break down social stigmas surrounding new mums and make them feel more understood by promoting an empathetic and open company culture. This includes facilitating honest conversations and discussion of concerns. What’s more, companies can provide training to employees and create internal support systems such as a working mothers group or a return to work buddy scheme.

How women feel going back to work

Provide a dedicated pumping space

Many mothers are still feeding their children with breastmilk upon their return to work yet according to a report by Peninsula, only 22% of UK bosses say that they provide designated breastfeeding spaces.

Providing a dedicated lactation area in the workplace allows new mums to continue their nursing routine without having to make any compromises to their careers.

The space provided should be private, quiet, comfortable, and sanitary. Expecting new mums to pump in the toilets or the staffroom, for example, is not adequate. The area should also include a refrigerator where expressed milk can be stored.

Remember that mothers who are breastfeeding or pumping are also entitled to more breaks during the working day. The times and frequencies of these breaks will need to be agreed upon with the employee.

Support for working parents

The number of women leaving work in order to fulfil caregiving responsibilities is the highest it’s been for 30 years.

Britain has some of the most expensive childcare in the world, with average yearly fees for a child under the age of 2 totalling an astronomical £14,000. It’s no wonder that 75% of mothers have stated that financially, it no longer makes sense for them to continue working.

It’s 2023, in a country with the world’s 6th largest economy, yet somehow, women are increasingly being forced to choose between working and family due to the financial stresses of having kids. For some mothers, this level of expense leaves them in a position where they cannot afford to return to work and face the prospect of pausing or giving up their careers.

Everyone wants a diverse workforce until it comes down to putting in the measures to actively support and retain that workforce – and it simply isn’t good enough.

We’re locking women out of the workplace.
Something has got to change.

Employers can help ensure that mothers can return to their role by supporting parents with the cost of childcare. There are numerous ways to do this, from in-house creches to childcare vouchers to employee benefits that provide on-demand, in-person support childcare. 

Contributing to the cost of employee childcare also promotes better financial well-being as less of their income is used for this purpose.

Offer them a companiion

Supporting parents in the workplace is important but employers can further help new mums find their perfect work-life balance by giving them access to an extra pair of hands at home too.

That's where we come in.
We provide on-demand, in-person support for those that need it.

For new mums returning to work, juggling employment, parenting, a home and general life can be difficult, with two-thirds expressing they feel exhausted and a fifth stating the pressure they feel to be a good parent affects their mental health.

However, our companiions can help with a huge variety of tasks, making it easier for new mums to focus their attention where it is needed most.

Whilst a companion can provide childcare if needed, they can also assist with household chores such as tidying, laundry and cleaning. They can help with meal prepping and are even available on an ad-hoc basis for errands such as food shopping, picking up a prescription or popping in to check on an older relative.

Our employee benefit provides your employees with the flexibility to choose from a wide range of in-person, on-demand services all tailored to their unique needs:

- Elderly care
- Childcare
- Everyday assistance
- Mental health care

With companiions, your organisation can start levelling the playing field!

Want to find out more about how we can help new mums and other employees in your business? Book a call with us today!

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