News that childcare costs are soaring to over £600 per month1, following companies insisting on a return to the office, has resulted in many new mums opting to either re-think their career or leave the workforce entirely.
Recruitment campaign for the logistics industry, Generation Logistics, conducted new research2 of new mothers in full-time employment across a wide variety of industries, to identify their experiences and biggest concerns upon returning to work.
The findings reveal that a whopping 94% of mothers feel nervous about returning to work after maternity leave, with nearly all also being forced to complete work tasks out of hours (97%). The research also found it took new mums five months on average to finally feel resettled into employment.
The top workplace considerations that mothers would like to see from their employers, include:
- Flexible hours (79%)
- Childcare options (66%)
- Part-time work (60%)
- Training opportunities (31%)
- Mentoring scheme (27%)
At the other end of the scale, the study also found that the top five concerns for new parents when returning to work from maternity leave, include:
- Not spending enough time with their children (67%)
- Feeling out of the loop in the workplace (65%)
- Not wanting to be away from home (51%)
- Nervousness during work (47%)
- Unexpected team changes (45%)
Supporting new mothers in the workplace is not only essential for their well-being but also contributes to a more inclusive and productive work environment. Employers can support working mothers in the following ways:
- Flexible Work Arrangements: Offer flexible work hours and remote work options whenever possible to allow new mums to adjust their schedules to better align with their family responsibilities.
- On-Site or Subsidised Childcare: Consider offering on-site childcare facilities or subsidising childcare costs for employees to relieve a significant financial burden.
- Extended Maternity Leave and Paid Parental Leave: Offer extended maternity leave options and ensure that employees are provided with paid parental leave to allow new mothers to spend additional quality time with their newborns (whilst being supported financially.)
- Lactation Support: Create a comfortable and private space for breastfeeding or pumping, and provide a reasonable break schedule for nursing mothers.
The transition back into work for new mums can be a very difficult time. It is imperative for organisations to recognise and address these struggles as highlighted in Generations Logistics research. Employers need to offer solutions such as flexible hours, childcare options, and part-time work, which can empower new mums to pursue their careers while maintaining a healthy work-life balance.
Joanne is the editor for Workplace Wellbeing Professional and has a keen interest in promoting the safety and wellbeing of the global workforce. After earning a bachelor's degree in English literature and media studies, she taught English in China and Vietnam for two years. Before joining Work Well Pro, Joanne worked as a marketing coordinator for luxury property, where her responsibilities included blog writing, photography, and video creation.