Every employee at your company has needs, including those who are pregnant. In many businesses, pregnant women are expected to carry on with their work tasks as normal, with no adjustments through each pregnancy stage. However, by accommodating small, yet effective changes for pregnant employees, you can increase employee satisfaction and retention. Here’s how.
If a pregnant employee’s job is a good match for telecommuting and if your company currently allows telecommuting, work with her to create a plan. By being allowed to occasionally telecommute, the pregnant employee will miss fewer work days due to common pregnancy-related occurrences such as swelling, morning sickness and more.
Examine the Workspace
Each stage of pregnancy brings different needs and different levels of physical restrictions. Work with the employee through each stage of her pregnancy to determine which workspace changes should be made to accommodate her needs.
For example, the employee’s chair ergonomics will likely need to be adjusted through each trimester. Working with the employee on workspace changes can be as simple as acknowledging and following through on any requests that she may have regarding desk and seating adjustments. These are simple changes that can make a big difference.
Reinforce Breakroom Rules
Pregnant employees are often sensitive to strong odors, particularly the smell of certain foods. If your company has a policy that employees must eat all food in the breakroom, be sure that this policy is being enforced. By enforcing the policy, you will be improving the workspace for the pregnant employee and for all employees.
Pregnant women are often questioned on everything from how they’re handling pregnancy to what their birth plan entails. As an employer, you should recognize that questions such as these violate an employee’s privacy and can make the employee feel uncomfortable in the workplace.
If a pregnant employee is visibly uncomfortable from the questions she is receiving in the workplace, as an employer, you should step in and ask the pregnant employee (in a private setting) how you can help to resolve the uncomfortable environment.
Create a Post-Pregnancy Work Plan
Every pregnancy is different. Employers who recognize this and who work with each pregnant employee to create individualized post-pregnancy work plans are likely to increase their rates of employee satisfaction and retention. As an employer, you should never assume what a pregnant employee’s plans are for the future. For example, many pregnant women choose adoption.
According to Understanding Women Who Put Babies up for Adoption, birth mothers who choose adoption will need time to work through feelings of grief and loss. Just like a new mother who is given time off at home with her new infant, a birth mother who chose adoption should be given the time off that she needs to heal both emotionally and physically.
Accommodating the needs of a pregnant employee isn’t difficult, but it can bring major benefits for the company including increased employee retention and satisfaction. By allowing pregnant employees to occasionally telecommute, by implementing workspace changes and more, both your company and your employees will benefit.