Much has been made over the past years over the bro-culture in high growth and established companies alike. There is a not-so-subliminal message given to current and prospective female employees that the environment is tilted toward a decidedly male orientation, and that expresses itself in a myriad of stereotypical ways, from basketball hoops to IPA on tap to sports on large screen TVs to…yes…Foosball. Yes, women can and do sometimes avail themselves of these things – but there’s no denying the optics and messaging are male-oriented. It’s the work version of a sports bar. The message is: This is a "guy place".
For HR, Recruiting, Benefits, Worklife and Corporate Wellness managers, that messaging alone, while being counterproductive in light of the need to attract satisfy and retain great talent of all genders in a near full-employment economy, is only the tip of the iceberg. Because while providing these male-oriented nice to haves, female-oriented need to haves are often lacking entirely or weak at best and the resulting limitations on women in the workplace are consequential.
Often, while the Foosball and Hoops are in full display, women at all levels within an organization from CEOs to admins and janitorial staff are taking care of basic bodily needs in a variety of desperate and undignified ways. Specifically, women returning to work after childbirth and who are lactating have a set of very real needs. When baby isn’t there to nurse at regular intervals, breasts become engorged and require emptying not only for physical comfort but also to maintain and upkeep the milk supply which is a use-it-or-lose-it biofeedback mechanism built into the lactation mechanism. Don’t do it and Mom can end up with pain, fever, leakage, and a reduced milk supply for baby. This creates anxiety and physical distress. And often they have no dedicated private place to go. All over the US working world women are sitting on toilet seats and in parked cars expressing breast milk with manual or low-quality pumps. The anxiety and pain is real, the missed hours of work, the mind-share that is lost – all of these cost women but also cost their employers.
This is why we support parents in the workplace – because it’s great for women and their partners as well as corporations and business and because it is the inclusive and right thing to do. So, what should a company ideally provide? A dedicated area where women can count on privacy, equipped with hospital-grade breast pumps as well as hygiene, comfort and nutritional amenities, as well as education and lactation consulting services. Those are the types of things that our company, DayOne does and is proud to provide – and we do it for forward-thinking companies from small companies and early stage startups to major household-word brands including Microsoft, Airbnb, Netflix, Sephora, Salesforce.com, Pinterest, Stripe, Electronic Arts, Survey Monkey, The Golden State Warriors and a host of other major corporations. If you think this is a lot to do in order to make an employee or prospective employee feel healthy, satisfied, understood, included, valued and wanted, I’ve got one word for you: Foosball.
To learn more about how you can attract, retain and delight your employees with world-class corporate lactation services, visit our Workplace Services page.