It’s Working Project: Advocating for Family Friendly Workplaces

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Key HR people turn to the It's Working Project to learn how to manage parental leave and return. See how they're shaping family friendly workplaces.

By Julia Beck

Your HR department really wants to know the best way to help you with your maternity leave (paternity leave, too). They genuinely seek input on how to create more family friendly workplaces. Lucky they have us …

Here at the It’s Working Project, we’ve spent the last few years talking to employers about you: the working parents whose jobs and lives will drastically change after welcoming a first (or second, or third) child into the family. And you know what? They’re listening! No, they’re rapt!

Employers want to know how it get it “right.”

They ask in earnest and we answer with details and candor, thanks to the insights our parents share with us through our Portrait Project. This collection of stories—deep, candid and rich anecdotes—paints a real-time reality of going back to work after baby in this country. While these stories point to some victories, they also highlight the ample opportunities for better solutions.

Wondering what it's like for other moms and dads to return to work after baby? Check out the It's Working Project, with hundreds of portraits reflecting the back-to-work experience for American parents.

What family friendly workplaces look like

So when key HR people across the country ask us how to “get it right” when it comes to parental leave and return, we share these important insights from our Portrait Project to help shape their family-friendly policies:

  • Women who positively describe their back-to-work transitions feel more empowered to stay in their current jobs, and most credit a supportive boss with creating a positive work environment during pregnancy and after maternity leave.
  • Women who relied on advice from other moms had an easier time transitioning to maternity leave and then back to work, especially when it came to questions of pumping, breast milk, and navigating human resources.
  • Everyone’s back-to-work transition is different, but speaking to someone who has had a personal experience goes a long way toward flattening the learning curve.
  • Workplaces that cultivated a supportive environment for new parents found loyal, hardworking employees and were less likely to experience absenteeism or turnover due to parents unable to meet expectations at home and at work.

Our goal is to help the private sector successfully bring new parents back to work with ease, as a matter of course and with a sense of pride. We do this by working with forward-thinking private sector companies to come up with best practices to achieve this. And we do this by listening to you, the working parents who have the firsthand understanding of what back-to-work as a family really looks, acts, and feels like. Together, we pave the way to better tomorrow for families in the workplace.

HR departments are listening

Companies that care about retention and cultivating a supportive workplace are eager for solutions. We’re trying to make it work better for parents in the workplace, but can’t do it without your input. If you’ve started or expanded your family and work (currently or previously), you have a story, and we want to hear it and learn from it.

Julia Beck is the founder of Forty Weeks, a marketing strategies firm with a unique focus on new and expectant parents. She is also the brains behind the It's Working Project, dedicated to helping the private sector bring families back to work with ease, as a matter of course and with a sense of pride. Julia Beck is the founder of Forty Weeks, a marketing strategies firm with a unique focus on new and expectant parents. She is also the brains behind the It’s Working Project, dedicated to helping the private sector bring families back to work with ease, as a matter of course and with a sense of pride. The project includes the Portrait Project, a stunning and candid portrait of the back to work experience.

Since 1998, Julia has been a passionate advocate for helping parents find success however they define it. A prominent marketing strategist based in Washington, DC and New York City, she noticed and experienced the huge number of unmet needs of pregnant women while pregnant with her first child. Recognizing a glaringly overlooked market, Forty Weeks was created to develop products and services with a clear focus on the woman and her experience throughout (and beyond) her 40-week journey.

Julia has been lovingly and creatively living life with maximum attitude and hyper-standards since 1967. She now resides in Chevy Chase, MD, with her husband Robert and their children Matthew, Rebecca, Lila, and Samuel.

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