Mumpreneuring gets mums back to work

Sue Farr’s comment on women in the workplace was spot on (MW last week). Women are a huge asset to a company. And I was interested to read how she managed to accommodate the three most senior members of her team who were having a second child.

At LIDA, we also found ourselves in an unusual situation when five of our female senior managers (myself included) went on maternity leave in close succession. We discussed ways to champion our working mums – or as we call it “mumpreneuring” – so not to lose or demotivate this valuable resource. For example, we have set up nanny sharing schemes and were very much involved in lobbying the Government for the childcare voucher legislation.

I can’t pretend that having children doesn’t at times play havoc with your working day. Inevitably, you will have to rush to hospital/home/school when little Johnny has fallen out of a tree/contracted mumps/punched James on the nose at playschool, and work might not be terribly accommodating. But employers worth their salt will be used to managing maternity and afterwards working mums.

Sadly, recent research we commissioned revealed that many mums in the advertising/marketing indus

try are suffering a raw deal when they return to work. I know that it isn’t easy for a business to facilitate maternity leave and working mums, particularly for small businesses or client-facing supplier industries, and making the transition easier for working mums can be an expensive and time-consuming exercise.

However, the benefits gained through implementing even a few thoughtful working practices are enormous. A company’s workforce is its most important asset, therefore keeping it happy should be one of an organisation’s top priorities.

Lisa Thomas

Chief executive and co-founder

LIDA

London W1

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