Mother's Day 2022 - How we create a family-friendly corporate culture
Today is Mother's Day. We want to use this special day as an opportunity to celebrate the many mothers at PIABO. How do they balance family and career? How do handovers work when starting parental leave? And what advice would our PIABO Moms give to other mothers?
A family-friendly corporate culture
For us at PIABO, integrating family and career is a natural part of our corporate culture. Mothers are an integral and valuable part of the team and from their experience as mothers they bring a skillset that is a real asset to any team. From composure and good communication skills to teamwork and multitasking to a high degree of improvisational skill - mothers make every team stronger.
Children are also not an obstacle. On the contrary, they are a great benefit. For example, this May we are organizing a PIABO Picnic, where all employees, including their partners and children, can socialize. And as visitors in the office or in many different video calls, PIABO kids are always welcome guests.
Flexibility in regard to working hours and choice of location
A family-friendly corporate culture also includes a high degree of flexibility, especially in regard to working hours and the choice from where to work. PIABO respects and supports every lifestyle; part-time work is just as much a part of our core values as flexible working hours and freely choosing your location. We want to accommodate everyone who, for example, cannot work a full 40-hour week from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. because of their children.
Parental leave & handover of tasks and teams
In the final weeks and months before a birth, many mothers and their teams prepare for the upcoming maternity leave and subsequent parental leave. Particularly for women in leadership positions, this step comes with many questions. What does it mean to leave a team in someone else's hands on an interim basis? How do I hand everything over successfully?
When our Unit Director Maria Urban went on maternity leave in April 2021, Ulrike Grandi-Haferstroh took over PIABO's Deep Tech Unit. Ulrike and Maria have known each other since 2017, where they worked together with part of the Deep Tech team to organize a event for one of PIABOs clients, which turned out to be a great advantage, as Ulrike describes:
"We knew how we work, how important our teams are to us and what we value in each other. This level of trust in each other is a great advantage. Good handovers and thinking together about how to get your colleague back into a team leadership position from parental leave are probably the key to everyone being able to enjoy their parental leave (reasonably) relaxed. I have three children myself and know how time off affects you as a manager."
Integrating family and career – but how?
One of the big questions many employees have is how to reconcile family and career. How does the balancing act work, and what does it take? For our COO Daniela Harzer, the problem begins with the term:
"Reconciliation always implies balancing, and keeping a balance costs energy. I would rather talk about integrating the two areas. Here, above all, a clear focus is crucial: That means 100 percent of one's attention is directed to the job or to the children."
To make this separation work, one thing is necessary above all: Effectively structuring your life and clear communication. For our Head of People Development and mother of an 11-year-old child, Juliane Seack, for example, the art lies in saying no sometimes, to herself as well as to others:
"In everything I do, a clear focus is absolutely essential. As a mother, you often have to learn to say no, for example not only to your children's requests for unhealthy things, but also to overloaded tasks at work or the little distractions of everyday life, such as apps which only eat up time."
But despite all the planning, every parent knows: Things don't always work out the way you planned. Good improvisational skill is then called for, as our Communications Director Dr. Daniela Hamann knows:
"Improvisation is absolutely essential – both for the job as a mother and the job in a communications agency. I also advise anyone and everyone – regardless of whether they are parents or non-parents – to say goodbye to uncompromisingly striving for perfection. In the end, things never turn out the way you want them to."
Advice from moms for moms
We asked some of the moms at PIABO what advice they'd like to pass along to other moms. Here are their answers:
❤️ "Don't always look for the fault in yourself. Things can't always go smoothly, no matter how hard you 'slog it out'."
❤️ "Never feel sorry – neither for being a mother and the associated time off from your job, nor for your commitment to your work."
❤️ “Never doubt yourself and listen to your gut. As a mom, you intuitively know what's best for you and your child(ren)."
❤️ "Don't lose sight of yourself, your interests, and your goals. And don't let yourself feel guilty – you are the best mom for your child(ren)."
❤️ "Stand up for yourself and your needs. Communicate clearly with your partner(s) and your child(ren) and find a way together that works for everyone."
❤️ "Let go. Don't feel guilty about it. Divide childcare among more than one person. The African proverb 'It takes a whole village to raise a child' is my guiding principle."