Mother’s Day: supporting employees

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Mother’s Day is a lovely way to recognise those mothers or motherly figures in our lives but for some it can be a difficult day. Those who have lost a mother or a child or who have suffered baby loss through miscarriage, together with those going through fertility treatment or who are childless not by choice may find the day very tough.

To avoid people being triggered, some brands such as Waitrose and Moonpig are cognisant of this and have therefore sent out emails to their database asking if people want to opt out of receiving Mother’s Day related emails.

This approach is becoming more commonplace year by year, but what can organisations do internally to support employees who may struggle with Mother’s Day?

Whilst Mother’s Day falls on a Sunday and therefore will typically be outside of the working pattern of most people, the build up to the day and the day itself can be difficult for some employees.

If you do celebrate Mother’s Day in the workplace, be aware that some employees may be upset in the run-up to the day and after it, so be sympathetic to them. If you notice a colleague is struggling, ask them if they want to talk about it. They may not and this is fine but sometimes not acknowledging a loss, whatever kind, can make the person feel worse.

For those who work in retail or hospitality and may typically work on Sundays, it may be an idea for employers to speak to employees ahead of Mother’s Day to see if they have any issues being customer facing on that day – as seeing families out celebrating may be a trigger for them. It might be that you look to assist them in swapping shifts with other employees on that day or try to find them tasks to do that will not be customer facing if they are in work on the day itself.

You may, however, find that for some being in work and staying busy on Mother’s Day is helpful for them to not dwell on their circumstances all day, so taking time to find out the individual circumstances of all employees who do struggle with the day is key.

Employers may also wish to signpost external or internal support, such as Employee Assistance Programmes, as well as acknowledging in any internal Mother’s Day related comms that they understand it can be a hard day for some, which may mean a lot to those who are struggling.

The same considerations as outlined above should also be shown when it comes to Father’s Day too.

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