By Ms. Sonica Aron
Breastfeeding has several advantages for both mothers and newborns, making it an essential component of maternal and child health. In recent years, there has been a growing understanding of the importance of aiding breastfeeding mothers in different walks of life, especially at work. However, balancing personal and professional duties is an ongoing challenge for new mothers. Motherhood may be both rewarding and taxing. Thus, fostering a breastfeeding-friendly environment benefits the employee’s health as well as the productivity and morale of the diverse workforce. Organizations can promote an empathetic environment that not only helps people but also results in the growth of a healthier and more enabled workforce by giving breastfeeding moms’ needs top priority.
Here’s a look at why organizations must support breastfeeding at workplaces-
Improved Employee Retention and Attraction
Businesses benefit from increased employee attraction and retention in the relevant talent pool when they establish their reputation as an employer that fosters and enables a breastfeeding-friendly environment. Employers that place a high value on family-friendly policies and work-life balance, work-life alignment, such as breastfeeding rooms, tend to attract more female candidates. Existing employees, especially new mothers, feel appreciated and enabled and are more inclined to stay with a company that recognizes and meets their requirements during this significant life stage. Investing in infrastructure like a room for breastfeeding and pumping, storage of breast milk, creche and trained nannies not only enhances employee loyalty but also helps organizations build a diverse and inclusive workforce, fostering innovation and a positive reputation as an employer of choice.
Enhanced Employee Productivity and Engagement
Supporting new mothers through the nursing stage raises engagement and productivity in the workplace. New moms can better balance their personal and professional obligations when they have access to dedicated lactation areas and flexible breastfeeding breaks. Higher levels of productivity are the outcome of a motivated workforce, which is produced by decreased stress and more job satisfaction. Furthermore, great employee experience leading to engagement is fostered by a sense of support and feeling valued, since people are more likely to be emotionally committed to their work. Ultimately, a breastfeeding-friendly workplace improves productivity and achievement across the board.
Financial implications for Employers
On the face of it, it might seem that providing for infrastructure, creche, flexibility might cost money and might put a dent on the organizations’ P&L. but on looking deeper, the benefits outweigh the costs. It is scientifically proven that breastfed children have higher immunity and therefore are less likely to get sick, thus breastfeeding has been associated with decreased absenteeism. Organizations help mothers return to work sooner by offering breastfeeding facilities and support, hence minimizing the need for prolonged maternity leave and accompanying costs. Additionally, healthier babies mean less stressed employees resulting in higher productivity, fewer employee healthcare claims, which translates into lower health insurance costs. Supporting breastfeeding enhances employee well-being at an overall level and is an advantageous economical choice for businesses.
Fostering a Positive Organizational Culture
Supporting breastfeeding at work encourages inclusivity and employee well-being while fostering a healthy organizational culture. Businesses show their dedication to recognizing employees as unique individuals with specific needs by providing lactation rooms and implementing flexible policies. A sense of community, respect, common purpose and goals, collaboration are fostered among team members in this atmosphere, which strengthens team relationships. Additionally, workers feel that their employer cares about them and is empathetic, which improves their loyalty and overall satisfaction at work. Employees are given the resources they need to succeed on both personal and professional fronts making it a win-win for all.
Building a Healthier Future: Nurturing a Breastfeeding-Friendly Culture!
Supporting breastfeeding in the workplace is an effective business choice that benefits both employees and employers. It is also a matter of social responsibility. Organizations can encourage a healthy and productive workforce by providing the right facilities, flexible guidelines, and understanding. A lactation-friendly workplace culture has several tangible advantages, including increased productivity, cost savings, and improved employee retention. Additionally, this kind of support fosters not only a productive organizational environment but a healthier future generation. It also gives a message to the society loud and clear- health and well-being of new mothers and the babies is important and we are all accountable!
(The author is Ms. Sonica Aron, Founder and Managing Partner, Marching Sheep, and the views expressed in this article are her own)