Mother’s Day: a date for businesses to review their HR practices

Mumbai, May 08, 2013 - Businesses should help Indian families celebrate Mother’s Day this year by making it easier for women to combine mothering with a career. By introducing practices such as flexible working and near-site crèche facilities, employers could encourage women back into the workforce after maternity leave.

Regus interviewed over 26,000 business people globally and found that almost two-thirds (65%) thought that hiring returning mothers could improve productivity. When business people were asked about the best ways to help women return to work after maternity, the most highly-regarded measures in India were:

  • Option to work closer to home (94%)
  • Flexible working hours (93%)
  • Near-site crèche facilities (90%)
  • The option to choose video-conferencing over travel at least some of the time (86%).

There's evidence from around the world to show how firms can benefit from female participation in the workforce - including better insights into consumer buying patterns, and more effective innovation, collaboration and 'out-of-the-box' thinking. One study showed that businesses with the highest proportion of women on their executive performed better in terms of return on equity and earnings margins.[1]

Encouraging more working mothers back into the workplace could also address skills gaps. With 32% of Asian executives not confident their companies will be able to attract and retain the staff they need in future;[2] any working practices that expand the available talent pool must be welcomed.

India is behind other Asian economies in terms of female representation on boards - and in the workforce generally. Women account for just 5% of seats on boards in India - less than the Asian average and well behind China, Singapore and Hong Kong. So it looks like a good time for employers to help returning mothers play a bigger role in India's economic growth.

According to Mr. Madhusudan Thakur, Regional Vice-President - South Asia, Regus, "Introducing measures like letting their staff work at locations closer to home, or at more flexible, family-friendly hours, is an affordable way for India's employers to improve their results and help working mothers manage their dual responsibilities at home and work. And these measures are simple to introduce - Regus' global network of business centres lets staff work some of the week closer to home instead of commuting to a fixed office. Families benefit if working parents spend less time commuting, and the business bottom line can benefit too: 73% of business globally say that flexible working practices have helped them increase productivity.

"Letting employees use flexible working to work their way could be a wonderful and far-reaching Mother’s Day gift - one that helps mothers, families, businesses and the Indian economy.”

[1] "Women Matter: An Asian Perspective", McKinsey and Co, June 2012.

[2] "Women Matter: An Asian Perspective".