By Wendy Harmon, AVP of Global Partner Programs at RingCentral
This Mother’s Day, it’s important to reflect on the profound effects the COVID-19 pandemic had on parents, particularly mothers.
A recent survey by mother.ly found that 58% of working mother respondents reported the stresses of the pandemic led them to consider leaving their jobs to take care of their children. For some, that stress was too much, forcing them to abandon their current career trajectories to put their full focus on their families.
As a mother myself, I completely understand doing whatever’s necessary to support your children. But, in today’s hybridized working world, companies should be able to support employees in all walks of life, allowing them to work from anywhere. Beyond that, they should also have the necessary constructs in place to support employees—especially parents—as they deal with the stresses imposed by the ongoing COVID situation and its implication on child care.
I spent the past weeks talking with some of the working mothers here at RingCentral to delve further into their own experiences as parents in these times. In those discussions, I noticed three key themes arise around ways today’s organizations can best support working parents.
By giving parents the ability to work however best suits their situation, they can fulfill both their duties as parents and roles as employees more effectively. For some, the ability to work remotely gives them the opportunity to better care for their children. For others, working out of the office may be a well-needed separation between work and home.
Here at RingCentral, our product is designed with the express purpose of introducing hybrid flexibility into the workplace, so our employees have options, allowing them to do what they need to succeed.
As my colleague, Senior Brand Manager Siobhan Corley-Richards, said:
“I’m so lucky and grateful to have the flexibility to organize my job around my life so that I can make the most of both worlds. When you’re working remotely it can be easy to fall into the trap of feeling disconnected and left out, so you have to really make a point of inserting yourself in conversations and sometimes asking the hard questions.”
Sharing that sentiment is Strategic Partner Manager Jessica Flannery, who told me her best tip for parents in a hybrid work setting:
“Schedule, schedule, schedule!!! Everyone in my ecosystem knows, ‘If it isn’t in my calendar, it isn’t happening!’ I plan out time for work, kids, me…”
In that way, Jessica is able to care for her kids, maintain a high level of support for RingCentral’s strategic partners, and set time aside for herself.
Continuing on, Jessica said, “I have learned to ask for a time out, set boundaries, and advocate for myself and for other people that weren’t able to find a voice for themselves. I recognized that self-care makes you both a better parent and a more productive employee. We were pushed to max capacity; self-care was, and still is essential!”
It’s incredibly important for organizations to provide their employees—especially working parents—with benefits that allow them the time and resources they need. For example, RingCentral recently doubled the amount of parental leave that any new mother or father can take, with extra medical leave benefits for mothers as well.
Additionally, we partnered with Carrot to introduce fertility benefits that all employees can opt into. These include anything from fertility screening and freezing programs to remote counseling for nearly any stage of the parental process.
Speaking to how these benefits have affected her role as a mother, Regional Partner Manager Autumn Risick said:
“RingCentral has provided us with the Headspace App for free to help with our mental health. RingCentral has also allowed for a great deal of flexibility for both mothers and fathers due to the change in business climate. We’ve also been provided a free parenting counseling app for moms who need emotional support or techniques on how to manage the new world in which we live.”
Autumn’s advice for new parents:
“Stay in the workforce! We have seen so many moms stop working and we need women in the workplace. Find a company that aligns with what you need in order to stay sane and feel supported while being successful. You have options now that there is a high demand for talented employees, so take advantage of that and find a company that understands your lifestyle and is flexible.”
Organizations that can identify and understand where to improve employee experience through these benefits are sure to attract and keep talent, even as they grow their families.
The last trend that our working mothers had to talk about is community. Siobhan, Jessica, and Autumn together created the Working Moms Support Group here at RingCentral, an all-inclusive team of parents centered around the sole purpose of helping working parents succeed.
In Siobhan’s words:
“Being part of the Mom’s support group and community at RingCentral has been such a blessing throughout this challenging time. It’s given a group of 100+ moms who are all juggling working mom life a place to safely share struggles and wins and just feel less alone. Our wellness and benefits team have really supported us in every way they can throughout the pandemic with various programs and resources. I’ve also been lucky to have a hugely supportive manager, who is also a mom and can relate to everything I’m going through.”
“Our SaaSy ERG [the Women’s Employee Resource Group at RingCentral] and being invited to participate in the Mom Support Group has been a gift; sharing stories, meeting other moms at RingCentral has been inspiring and lets me know I am not alone!” Jessica said.
By creating safe spaces for parents to share their experiences, companies can find greater cohesion among their employees with children. Personally, I am proud to be a part of such a strong group of women and men who refuse to let their duties as employees get in the way of their responsibilities as parents, and vice versa. Instead, they rally together, and succeed together in both avenues of life, which is truly inspiring.
So, speaking to all working parents, all I ask is that you surround yourself with like-minded people, take the time you need for yourself and your family, and ultimately, keep doing what you do best. Companies: take note, and find ways that you can best support your amazing working parents as much as they support their children and your business.
About the Author
As AVP of Global Partner Programs, Wendy Harmon leads RingCentral’s worldwide channel partner enablement initiatives. With a wealth of experience leading global on-premises and SaaS product and services teams, Wendy strives to create a balance between innovative risk and the need for discipline, standards and consistency. A proud sixth-generation Californian, Wendy has also lived in Colorado and the UK and graduated from the University of Colorado Boulder.