Being a working mother isn’t always easy. But if you can find a company with a culture that embraces your identity as an employee and mom, it can be easier. As Annie Luu, director of innovation and partnerships at Fingerprint for Success, explains, “when companies are understanding and flexible to the needs of mothers, it gives mothers tremendous confidence.”
Here, experts say, you should consider six things when evaluating how mom-friendly a company culture may be. Each is a good sign you’ve found the right, supportive fit, they say.
1. Ask about the company’s flexible work policies.
Flexible work arrangements allow you to work hours that fit best within your schedule, or work remotely, says Neha Khurram, founder of Beam Career Coaching & Recruiting. For example, a flexible work policy might allow you to arrive at the office at 10 a.m. instead of 9 a.m., she says, or work a few days each week remotely. Check for policies like this on the company’s website, or ask about them in an interview. Also important: These policies should be universal, applying to all employees. “This allows everyone to nurture their own needs and obligations and prevents the expectation for any employee to work less based on their family status,” Khurram explains.
2. Tour of the office, and look for mom-friendly spaces.
If you’re accepting an in-office position, ask to tour the space. As you walk around, “look for signs that employees celebrate family — framed photos of kids on desks, artwork pinned to bulletin boards,” says Shari Storm, CEO of Category 6 Consulting. Why? “These are all signs that having a family isn’t something you need to hide to get ahead in your career,” Storm says. You’ll also want to see if the company offers spaces that allow for private and convenient breast milk expression. New moms may have to express milk multiple times a day, and having a safe space to do so “can be a big stress-reliever,” Luu says.
3. Scour online reviews for mentions of working mothers.
Glassdoor offers a bevy of reviews from current and former employees. Read through them to see if any mention “good culture, and inclusive, supportive leaders,” says Jaime Taets, CEO of Keystone Group International. These are good indicators of a company culture that helps moms.
4. Ask targeted questions of the hiring manager.
In an interview, be sure to ask specific questions regarding the company’s culture. “Try to go beyond just asking, ‘Is the company mother-friendly?” says Luu. Instead, “dig a little further to get the scoop on what would happen if your child falls sick, or if you need to attend an urgent PTA meeting. Do they have specific protocols to accommodate these childcare responsibilities?”
5. Look for mom-friendly benefits and perks.
When the company discusses its benefits, it asks if they provide perks that support mothers. While not every organization can offer a dedicated childcare facility in the building, says Luu, having one is certainly a benefit, as it “reduces the commuting time between work, childcare, and home.” Other perks might be discounts to daycare centers or other forms of childcare, generous paid parental leave, or work parties that allow the whole family to attend.
6. Examine how many working moms are on the team.
Ask for the company’s demographics in an interview and see how many other working moms are on the team, says Luu. “This increases the chances that leaders will be more understanding of the needs of mothers,” she says. Khurram adds that seeing women in leadership roles can also be a good sign “that the company values their perspective and that there may be more opportunity for other women,” including mothers and soon-to-be mothers, “to advance in the organization.”
Look for companies that offer flexible work policies —which allow working moms to set their own hours or work from home — and perks such as in-office nursing rooms and childcare, discounts to daycares, and family-friendly celebrations. Please find out more about companies and their culture by going through our company reviews!