First of all, you are not the master of your own time anymore. Your time management will take a hit. Mine did, too. I am a happy mother of two boys, and the older was born when I was still a student. My university schedule was much more forgiving than I thought, and compared to my second child, keeping up with everything seemed surprisingly easy. When my second boy came around, I was already a young mom and a recruiter. When maternity leave went by, I felt I was in a precarious spot probably most mothers find themselves in, feeling like the balance between work and spending time with a beloved baby is impossible to maintain.
I decided to try, and I must say it was sometimes hard – even though Bee Talents is a great and accommodating employer. As a survivor – I’ve been here for almost 2 years – I want to share some key tips on keeping work-life-baby balance, which makes me and my family (and also my employer) happy campers 🙂
Go remote, go flexible
Remote work offers many benefits for a young mom. You not only stop wasting time on commuting, but also can work all day in smaller increments and during weekends. A direct implication of this is less stress both at work and at home, as you balance your duties. When my son cries for 20 (long) minutes in the morning I know I can keep up with my tasks later today. When my client is US-based, I can talk to them in the evening, which is even better than one day email delay.
Monday, 3PM. You are getting anxious. Still two hours until your daily 8, but kids need pickup from kindergarten. I leave the office. Knowing, that large majority of my tasks can be planned in a way, that allows me to put the finishing touches on Saturday. A flexible work setup combined with the ability to do some work remotely are very important factors that allow young parents to thrive in their workplace. Be aware however, that such a setup requires some skill on your part, too! You need to understand which tasks are really urgent and become fluent in prioritizing every single task.
Pro-tips for employers:
- The foundation of a workplace friendly to young parents is trust. Without it both sides may feel uncomfortable even in relatively well set conditions.
- Some SaaS platforms for recruiters do not allow out-of-office work, as they link accounts to IP. Avoid them, as this setup offers no clear benefits for efficiency or security.
- Give your employees laptops instead of PCs, or at least have some available for special circumstances. Stationary computers are not significantly cheaper with the complete setup, and unnecessarily limit spatial flexibility in your office and outside of it.
Here at Bee Talents we use Slack, but almost any collaborative project management or communication platform will work. You can stay up to date from anywhere, anytime. But here comes the tough part – being absent should make you try to be very responsive at most times, even if you can’t do the task immediately. Ping your coworkers back with proposed deadline, instead of keeping them in the dark, as they do not have the option to just go to your desk and ask you for dates. Be proactive when you have the time!
Apart from recruiting services, Bee Talents has a robust consulting and workshop teams, that have different types of tasks that can be done remotely just as good. Think, if your flexible work hours and remote work can be of use to other areas in the company where you have expertise. That way you can keep yourself busy even if some projects require corporal presence.
Be relentless in asking for feedback
Finally, what has helped me tremendously is that I was never afraid to, or never discouraged from reaching out to get feedback from everybody around. People actually like to have their grievances heard, and at worst you will get more awareness of how your absence is perceived. You almost can’t lose out. In normal circumstances most people will be supportive and offer real advice on how you could improve, although that depends on the organization. Bee Talents uses weekly 1:1 meeting with leaders and periodical 1:1 meetings with peers. There is an institutionalized track of giving somebody props (“kudos!” 🙂 ). This can help employees who would normally have hard time to feel motivated without positive feedback on their hard work managing mom duties too.
There are many things you and your company can do to make transition into mom-life easier. From allowing remote work, through picking well designed tools, up to instituting a culture of feedback and open communication. If you’re a CEO – don’t neglect impact of those improvements, as this might be a huge mistake that later blows back on young parents in your company.
To sum it all up, here is a short rundown of my achievements during last crucial 18 months:
- faced an IT branch for the first time
- both worked in and lead a real team for the first time
- I became a workshop coach and I LOVED IT
- I wrote my first articles ever
- Attended an international conference
- flew a plane (ok, that is less strictly business-related but hey, I can do anything!)
- recorded an e-learning lesson