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3 Ways to Make it Work for Working Mothers

"Traditional" workplace systems have not always historically worked for many women and working mothers. At Publicis Sapient, we’ve built flexibility and support into our infrastructure, which elevates talent and enables them to thrive.

The support and care we give to our working mothers has a direct affect on our ability to do good work that impacts the world around us. Here are just a few ways that we support our working mothers at Publicis Sapient, directly from a few members of our global workforce.


1. Representation

Inclusive business cultures and policies often prove to be more productive and profitable. Companies with gender-balanced leadership are almost 20% more likely to have enhanced business outcomes and a 60% greater ability to attract and retain top talent (Source).

Vicki Zoll, Senior Director Program Management, Germany

Vicki Zoll will be the first to tell you that returning to work after having children is not easy. And unfortunately, for many women, they aren’t given control over when and how they return. “The fact that I’m grateful [for the support that my company showed me during my return to work journey] is a little contradictory because it should be a given that women can come back when they want to.” But unfortunately, it’s not a standard at all companies.

Vicki does feel lucky though to have had the opportunity to create the balance she needed and evolve it over time, starting her return slowly and building it back up to full time when she was ready.


In a recent interview with Moms Who Lead,Vicki explains, “It’s not about putting more on your shoulders as a working mother, but creating a much healthier balance…My team’s response was, ‘We’re happy you’re back, and we’ll make it work.’”


By ‘making it work’ for working mothers, Vicki also believes we are empowering more women to take control of their careers. Over her career, and especially in recent years, Vicki has been energized by opportunities to coach other women leaders. She has taken part in various leadership programs, as both a participant and facilitator.

“The very prospect of me [being a part of these programs] shows that you can be a successful woman,” she says.

For one of the programs, the leaders made sure that 50% of the participants were women. “I initially thought, okay that’s great. But it wasn’t until I was a part of the cohort that I realized the incredible impact that has. I’m so used to being in meetings that are mostly men, and it made me realize this is how it can and should be. It is more human and feels more balanced.”

When we make women and working mother representation a priority within the organization, we enable more women to succeed. And when more women succeed in the workplace, the more the system will need to respond and better support them.

Access Vicki's full interview with Moms Who Lead to learn more about her experience as a working mother.

2. Time ownership

The COVID-19 pandemic had an imbalanced effect on working parents, illuminating the extra amount of unpaid care work women perform. In the U.S. the share of mothers actively working decreased more than fathers at the onset of the pandemic as schools went virtual, and as of January 2022, the women’s workplace participation rate has fallen to that of 1988 (Source).

Suzanne Daley, Senior Director People Strategy, United States

For Suzanne Daley, a key to feeling supported as a parent by her workplace is the flexibility in time and workload management.

“We should all be judged by our work output quality and attitude, and not the hours we keep,” says Suzanne. “It brings me joy to walk my son to his bus stop and to have dinner as a family. I’ll happily work ‘irregular’ hours after my son goes to bed if that means flexibility during the day to stay connected with him.”

Suzanne believes the solution for many working parents is support of their priorities from their company and colleagues. This starts with an open environment where we all feel comfortable sharing our priorities and setting boundaries that enable balance.

“I did have my son at a later age when I was more settled in my career, and I believe this contributed to my comfort with setting boundaries and navigating my schedule and workload,” says Suzanne. However, this is not to say that women should have to prioritize career before having a family in order to establish this sense of security.

“I feel that everyone should share proudly when they need to end their day early to attend a child’s game or concert as that makes it more okay for others to not feel guilty about these other priorities. And the same should be said for all priorities, whether you’re a parent or not. We all have things we care about outside of work.”

3. Dedicated support programs

Even before the pandemic, working women have historically paid a higher price for parenthood, often including a challenging road back to work, which has contributed to a declining global female workforce participation rate since 1990 (Source). When they are back at work, mothers are more likely than fathers to struggle with mental health concerns due to the stress of balancing home and work life demands and workplace structures that have never been designed for them (Source).

Rimi Bhattacharya, Manager, Agile Program Management, India

The Publicis Sapient Spring Program is a holistic, industry leading program that supports women on career breaks as they reenter the workforce. The flagship program launched in our India offices in 2017 and has since helped many women at varying career stages return to work confidently through mentorship, upskilling opportunities, flexible work arrangements, wellbeing resources, and opportunities to create impact.

Women like Rimi Bhattacharyan, who took a motherhood break when her son was born. While she kept a tab on the industry while on break by networking with colleagues and completing a couple certifications, Rimi was hesitant to look for a full-time position due to the prevalent biases of organizations towards people who go on a break.

“I was contemplating picking up consultancy roles when I got the chance to be a part of Spring. I underwent a well-curated, craft-based learning program, which had a mix of online learning and training, and self-ramp up training, followed by my allocation to a project making my journey back to work quite seamless.”

“The best part of Publicis Sapient is that it has policies in place which provide the required flexibility and support to all its employees. Because of this, I have been able to manage all my work responsibilities and take care of my son.”

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