Childcare | Microsoft employee delighted at THIS part of employer's paternity offering

Microsoft employee delighted at THIS part of employer's paternity offering

A Microsoft employee has shared a heartwarming gift package sent to his baby from his employer as part of the software giant’s generous paternity offerings.

Avi Shalom Ardon, a Finance Manager at Microsoft, recently became a father to a baby girl. His employer sent the new addition to his family a ‘Welcome Baby Box’, which included gifts, a cozy blanket and information about the services Microsoft offer for parents.

Virgin, Deloitte and Linklaters LLP run similar schemes – providing small gifts for their maternity-leave mothers so they continue to feel connected to the place of work. Emma Codd, Managing Partner of Talent at Deloitte called it the “single most engaging thing we do for our people.”

Matt Elliot, People Director at Virgin Money says that this level of interaction is “to make sure that our people are going through this momentous experience not by themselves. Unsurprisingly, our people love it,” he said.

Helen Wallace, HR Director at recruitment firm SThree, works at a firm who ensure they’re making the right sort of contact with their mothers from the moment they go on maternity leave. She explained:

“When parents are taking time for maternity and paternity leave it can become very isolating.”

“Returning to work can be a daunting experience. It is hard to know what being a working parent will entail, what the expectations are from your employer, what has changed in the workplace and how you and your child will cope.”

In order to combat these stresses, SThree runs two schemes to keep in contact with their maternity-leave mothers. Their maternity buddy scheme buddies an expecting employee with someone who has gone through the process of maternity leave.

Wallace counts this as a success in allowing people to return to work. The second is run in tandem with a partner, From Babies With Love, who allow the company to provide personalised baby gifts for the mother on maternity forming part of a “holistic support programme for parents.” In return, Wallace explains that they see “increased engagement and a good deal of positive feedback.”

This approach is highly commendable, especially at a time when new parents are faced with considerable pressure to continue as normal as quickly as possible. Research has revealed that working mothers are, on average, 18% more stressed than other workers, with that figure rising to 40% for mothers with two children.

The research, reported in the Guardian, was conducted by Professor Tarani Chandola, of Manchester University, and Dr Cara Booker, Professor Meena Kumari and Professor Michaela Benzeval, of the Institute for Social and Economic Research at Essex University.

“Work-family conflict is associated with increased psychological strain, with higher levels of stress and lower levels of wellbeing,” Chandola said. “Parents of young children are at particular risk of work-family conflict. Working conditions that are not flexible to these family demands, such as long working hours, could adversely impact on a person’s stress reactions.”

“Repeated stressful events arising from combinations of social and environmental stressors and major traumatic life events result in chronic stress, which in turn affects health,” Kumari said.



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