Helping your employees when they are pregnant, especially with stress management, can help them stay at work and feel cared for by you. Some workplaces are better suited to aid their employees with stress, but there are small things that can be put in place to help everyone, including the partners of those having a baby.
Listen to your employees
Aim to appoint a senior employee in the workplace who can be on hand to listen to your employees’ concerns, no matter how small. Dedicating a compassionate member of the senior team to being a point of contact for a pregnant woman or person means that they know they have someone to go to. This saves them the worry about something leading them to call in sick due to anxiety or stress.
Senior managers should have support by receiving training via an actively listening course. This would ensure all parties feel able to support each other. It should also apply for partners of those having a baby, as they often need additional support too.
Unfortunately, pregnancy does not always go to plan and can end in loss. Ensuring that your management team knows how to help a family going through a loss is essential to being an empathic and caring workforce. Allowing leave, personal space and time off for funerals is the first step to supporting a colleague experiencing the loss of a child, no matter how far that pregnancy went.
Flexibility and adaptability
Helping your team manage stress in the workplace when pregnant can mean adaptations to their working day or week. For example, this could be in the form of adapting when they start work if they are struggling with pregnancy sickness in the morning. Or doing longer hours in a day to give them more time off in the week.
Often people find their stress is less at home, and time away from work can help them manage their stress and anxiety. Adapting their physical workspace can also make a difference to stress and anxiety.
Pregnant women and people can often experience pain when sitting for long periods of time, or even when standing still in one position, such as at the hairdresser. Standing desks, stools and yoga balls are all ways to adapt an employee’s working environment to help relieve the stress that their physical workspace gives them. Having these changes in place to offer a pregnant woman or person – without them needing to ask for it – is a great way to limit stress and its effects on those who work for you.
Creating a relaxing and calming break space can also decrease an employee’s stress and anxiety. Ensuring low lighting in the space can lower cortisol levels, which in turn lowers stress. Especially if your employees work in an office with strip lighting.
Providing employees with free access to apps, such as Calm, can mean they are able to access wellbeing tools while at work and at home. These tools are fantastic at lowering anxiety levels and are proven to be useful in most work environments.
Providing employees with headphones in a busy environment can allow them to zone out when needed and use their relaxation apps in private.
Consider allowing your employee to bring in their dog to work, having them under the desk or nearby. Not all workspaces will be able to accommodate this, and that’s fine. But those that are will find an increase in work productivity and a decrease in workplace anxiety.
Supporting pregnant employees
Caring for pregnant women and people who are stressed is similar to caring for those who are not pregnant, with small adaptations and understandings of what they are going through. Pregnant women deserve to have a safe space to enjoy when they come to work, without the pressure of harassment or judgement.
Those working around them can sometimes be the cause of the problem, and as an employer it is important to be aware of language that is being used in your working space. Often comments seen as harmless, such as ‘your bump is big, are you having twins’, are not appropriate, causing stress and upset.
Inappropriate touching of a woman’s bump is also an invasion of privacy and should not be done without consent. Creating a safe, equal environment for all can lead to a stress-free workplace for someone who is considered to be vulnerable.
Women wish to maintain their own independence and therefore should be treated as an equal and individual, and not just a ‘pregnant person’.
Learn more about how to support pregnant employees in the workplace, or join a bloss workshop on supporting new and expectant parents in the workplace.
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