Sascha Mayer is the cofounder and Chief Experience Officer (CXO) of Mamava, the creator of freestanding lactation spaces for breastfeeding on the go. We talked to her about how employers can better support all workers — especially new parents — and why these inclusive measures are good for business.
Sascha Mayer is the cofounder and Chief Experience Officer (CXO) of Mamava, the creator of freestanding lactation spaces for breastfeeding on the go.
How can employers create better workplace experiences for working parents?
One of the first things employers can do is provide paid parental leave for all new parents (not just birthing parents). Dismantling the gender stereotypes around caregiving is an important way to create equity and influence broader cultural change. Putting in place care infrastructure in workplaces validates the bodies and experiences that have been too often ignored or invisible.
Why is investing in working parents good for business?
Before creating Mamava, most of my career had been in brand strategy consulting. I know from experience working with clients that employees are the best source of brand advocacy. Investing in the well-being of working parents goes far beyond employee retention — engaged, inspired, and well-cared-for employees are a critical resource for building a successful business.
What’s the biggest challenge employers currently face when trying to improve the well-being of their employees?
The biggest challenge I find as an employer in improving the workplace experience and well-being of our employees is the diversity of needs. Whether it’s supporting different ways of working (introverts vs. extroverts, in-person or at-home) or establishing schedule flexibility for caretaking responsibilities at home (taking care of young children or caring for aging family members), everyone needs something a little different. So, it’s necessary to design workspaces and employee benefits that acknowledge the range of life experiences and needs.
How have work and family responsibilities shifted in the post-pandemic era? How has this impacted business?
Nearly 75% of employees are caregivers in some capacity, whether they’re raising children or caring for elderly family members. The pandemic put the challenges of working parents in full view (quite literally on Zoom cameras) for those of us lucky enough to work from home. But the truth is that the work of caring for a family has always existed; it was just less visible pre-pandemic. Employees were able to examine their priorities and find better ways of working and being with their families. And both employers and employees recognized that productivity didn’t decline with increased flexibility.
What does the future of work and family like look like to you?
The needs of caregivers have been overlooked for too long, but so too has the market opportunity they represent. There’s increased interest in designing workplaces and policies that support the realities and expectations of workers in the post-pandemic era. From the resurgence in organized labor to the attraction of working for a mission- driven business — or simply one that aligns with their personal values of family and community — employees are asserting their needs and changing workplaces for good.