No one would argue the point that it's hard to be a working mother. With a never-ending to-do list, balancing both motherhood and a career can be especially frustrating if your workplace doesn't foster a supportive and encouraging environment. According to the findings of the #SheMakesItWork campaign conducted by Monster.com, which highlights the challenges faced by mothers returning to work after maternity leave, 55% of women surveyed in Malaysia feel they have an unsupportive boss and workplace, which can lead to feelings of stress and guilt because of divided attention between work and family, and also breed resentment toward your job.
If you are doing your best to deal with an unsupportive boss, here are some ways to help make it work for both your family and career.
Express your needsClear communication is essential for any working relationship, but especially so between a manager and employee. If you, for example, are like the 43% of surveyed mothers who are worried about being too tired or distracted to do their job properly, its best to have a calm, direct conversation with your manager about balancing your role at work with your new role at home.
Do also remember that a productive conversation goes two ways. If you want to find a long-term solution, you also need to listen to your manager's concerns.
Agree on new working conditionsAn astonishing 75% of the women surveyed in the #SheMakesItWork campaign indicated that lack of flexibility at work is the main reason why new mothers quit their jobs. If managing your schedule is a major concern for you, it’s best to state your case for more flexible working conditions.
When speaking with your boss, be prepared to show how a more flexible work arrangement will not restrict productivity and is beneficial for both parties, and don't be afraid to pull out statistics, like how 45% of new mums said flexible working arrangements are key to helping them return to the workforce.
Prior to the conversation, you should also think about the type of flexible working situation thin would best work for you and propose a three-month trial period for your new work arrangement. Be as open and honest as possible when sharing your plan, and show your manager that you are open to trying new arrangements to fit your and the company's needs.
Support in the officeLook for someone who can be your cheerleader in the office, whether it's your colleague, someone in HR or another parent who shares your experience. If there are other mums at work who are in a similar situation, you might want to seek out their help and advice. You can also consider trying to make changes via a group effort – finding and proposing solutions that will make the office more family-friendly: especially since just 12% of respondents said their workplaces have a dedicated lactation room and 10% said they do not have the option of a child-daycare at work. Creating the right culture and supportive ecosystem could start from you.