On Sunday, May 12, we will celebrate mothers nationwide for Mother's Day, a celebratory day that dates back to 1908. The next day, working mothers, who represent a third of working women, return to work as they do each Monday, aiming to strike the delicate work-life-family balance.
It is oft-referenced that being a parent is a full-time job in itself, as balancing work and kids along with other life events can be (more than) a handful. According to a new Pew Research Center analysis of data from the U.S. Census Bureau, "a record 40% of all households with children under the age of 18 include mothers who are either the sole or primary source of income for the family." It is not surprising that the flexibility to balance work and life issues ranks second to compensation as the reason employees stay or leave a job, according to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM).
Here are five ways to celebrate the working moms in your office.
1. Give them a plant.
To show appreciation for the working moms in your office, give them a rose or small plant for their desks. Small gestures go a long way to show appreciation, especially in the workplace – so much so that 84% of HR leaders say an employee recognition program helps employee engagement.
Plus, plants are an easy way to add color to the workplace. As highlighted in our Earth Day blog, studies show that spending time near plants makes people happier and healthier, reduces mental fatigue, and aids concentration. Take it a step further and host a bouquet-making event for all the employees, and be sure to send off all working moms with one to take home.
2. Hold an off-duty potluck.
Host an appreciation potluck planned and prepared by the non-mothers in the office. Give the working mothers, who spend many of their off-hours preparing multiple meals a day for their family, a break and do the food prep for them.
To really give them a day off from lunch duty, host a lunch-packing event. Send the moms home with bagged lunches for their kids to take to school the following day. The gesture to make their lives outside of work easier will not go unnoticed.
3. Take them to lunch.
Take lunch to the next level by asking colleagues to write down what they admire most about their working-mom co-workers, and place them anonymously in a hat or fishbowl. During the office potluck, take turns sharing these words of affirmation and appreciation.
4. Give them time off.
To help them stretch their weekend celebrations a little longer, give your working moms an extra half-day off either the Friday before or the Monday after Mother's Day. This time off provides them extra time to spend with their family or pamper themselves. Similar to summer Fridays, it's an inexpensive perk that has been shown to generate greater productivity, higher morale and reduced turnover.
5. Pamper them at a spa.
Rather than giving out gift cards for a local spa, which may never get used due to familial and personal obligations, bring the spa to them. Organize for 30-minute chair massages to take place in the office for all the working moms throughout the day to help them de-stress. Think massages are over the top? Think again: Massages have been shown to boost creativity, improve brainpower and reduce anxiety. That all equates to better results.