Today, the number of mothers who work in Pakistan is greater than ever before. Yet, despite this, they continue to face tremendous challenges. Not only are they often viewed as lacking the determination to move ahead, they may also be regarded as breaching social norms by failing to be ‘ideal mothers’ – that is, putting their work before their children.
Furthermore, working mothers’ contributions are generally undervalued because the barometer for productivity is hours logged in the office and not actual work delivered. However, working mothers work extra hard to meet deadlines because they have a very powerful motivation to do so – they want to make sure they can leave to have dinner ready, pick their children up from school/day care, manage their households and business goals.
Interestingly, the motherhood role makes them better able to cope because research indicates that having multiple roles can lead to greater life satisfaction, better relationships and reduced depression.
Here are five practices that can help mothers – and fathers – have a better work-life balance:
Flexible timings. Allow employees to rearrange their schedules when necessary; this way, they can get the same amount of work done at times convenient for them; let them telecommute when possible.
Interchangeable sick leave. Let employees use their paid sick leave to care for their sick children.
Child care. Establish an on-site child care centre for employees’ children.
Provide support. Set up a network on the company’s intranet that brings together parents so they can share experiences and exchange tips, and/or provide counselling services for stressed parents.
Reintegration periods. Allow employees to temporarily modify their work schedule for a defined period of time after returning to work from leave.
By Fauzia Kerai Khan. The writer is Chief Consultant, i&b Consulting,Training, e-learning