Ways to Support Working Parents
We think every person in our ASG & Partners team is a superstar and none more deserving of this compliment than Stacey Rooney, Account Director and mother to toddler Daniel. Stacey has been an essential member of our Client Services team for over 5 years now. Her efficiency and ability to calmly handle every situation no matter the crisis means she is the safe pair of hands appreciated by colleagues and clients alike.
Having recently returned from maternity leave, we asked Stacey for a chat about how she has been finding the return to work and the inevitable juggle of profession and parenthood.
It happens to be International Working Parents Day this month so we hoped you’d share with us a little about your own experiences as a working parent? How have you found the transition back to work after welcoming little Daniel?
I loved having time with Daniel after he was born. I had planned to take 9 month maternity leave which happened to overlap with the first lockdown so in a way the timing was good. We felt comfortable shielding Daniel and soaking up the time together as a family. At around 7 months I started making plans to get back to work. At that point I did feel a little anxious. The idea of doing the right thing for Daniel and my family as well as fulfilling my work commitments felt slightly overwhelming. The support I received from Valerie (CEO and Strategist), Emma (Deputy CEO and Media Strategist) and the whole ASG team made every difference to me.
What helped you the most as you transitioned back from maternity leave?
The flexibility that I was shown by the business meant that my transition back to work was better than I could have hoped for. First of all, I was able to start back at 4 days per week. This felt like an easier transition than going straight to 5 days. Valerie and Emma were incredibly thoughtful about my working conditions and when I did come back, I was able to work from home with my son there rather than move him into childcare right away. I appreciated this so much. I was productive and worked through everything expected of me but I didn’t feel forced into using childcare sooner than I was ready.
When Daniel did start childcare I moved to working 3 days in the office and 1 day at home. ASG continued to be super supportive. They offered me flexibility when in the office to finish a little earlier in order to collect Daniel (and avoid the hideous nursery late fees!). Over and over again I’ve been shown so much trust and it has only made me more committed to delivering for the team.
How have you found Working From Home?
I’ve had a really positive experience of working from home. I do think it depends on the person (and their relationship with managers and peers) but I find I’m more productive without a commute and general office distractions. I hold myself accountable for everything I have to do and I notice I’m more efficient than I would be in the office. At times I do miss the social interaction so having the balance of WFH days as well as in-office days is the best combination for me.
What would your advice to companies be when it comes to supporting their employees who are working parents?
I am so grateful for the relationship I have with my managers. There’s no getting away from the fact that in most cases the weight falls largely on working mothers and having a supportive manager or team around you when you return to work can make all the difference. We’re lucky here at ASG to have a female led board and management and I do think that women who have experienced juggling parenting and working themselves can offer more empathetic and practical solutions to their teams.
It’s all about trust really. If you have loyalty and trust between a manager and employee, you should have confidence that the work will be completed regardless of where it happens.
Covid and national lockdowns has shown that working from home really can work. Having an open line of communication between employers and teams is vital. Figuring out what would really help everyone to work better and more efficiently is what’s needed. Being able to do that with an open mind is surely the way forward.
Thank you Stacey!
Our teams all work on a hybrid, flexible basis, some days in the office and some days at home. Pre covid figures show that only 5% of workers had the option of Working From Home and now around 87% of employees would like to take more control of how and when they work. It’s important for us to recognise the demands our teams have in their lives inside and outside of work. We know that supporting them in a more holistic way means we can expect a higher level of productively, commitment and team loyalty.
Flexibility means accessibility. Whether it’s for parents, people with disability or carers, anyone who might feel excluded from the standard working environment. We’ll keep talking to our teams to support them in any way we can so that they can support our agency and our clients in every way possible