Working mums are not part-time mothers


Working mums can also have a career

People & stories, 21.10.2020

How do you reconcile children and a career? Verena School heads up a training and further education team within ERGO and is also the mother of a three-year-old daughter. She has some advice – and writes about it in her blog and also on LinkedIn. In an interview, she explains what’s important for working mothers today.

Mrs School, you like writing about working mums. Why is this important to you?

School: First and foremost, I am a working mother myself. So I know from my own experience what works well and what doesn't. Secondly, the issue is absolutely crucial from an employer’s point of view, as a lot of potential falls by the wayside due to age-old stereotypes. These old role models regard working mums as "part-time mums" who are just working “on the side”. Mothers work differently, but not worse or less responsibly. They are often more focused because they have less available time. Both sides need to overcome the prejudice that a woman's career is over as soon as she has children.

What makes it so difficult for mothers in today's digital working environment?

School: The challenge lies in the need to be constantly available. In the digital world of work, it is beneficial that employees do not necessarily need to be in the office to be reached. However, the disadvantage of this is that ultimately you are somehow permanently available. We need to start regulating this more effectively ourselves – but this applies to all employees and managers, not just mothers. However, I regard the flexibility that digitalisation offers as a definite benefit, especially as a mother. It also helped to overcome the challenges of reconciling work and family life during the coronavirus lockdown.

Do you believe that working mothers generally get more support today than they used to?

School: There is more of a focus on them in society, as nowadays many more mothers work. Even if they return to part-time work, employers are increasingly better prepared to deal with this. Furthermore, childcare options are much more widespread and many fathers are also taking on childcare duties. This means that more and more mothers can reconcile children and career.

What tips do you have for working mothers?

School: It is important to have your day well structured. Clear goals that you prioritise also help to achieve results in a short time. I also recommend always staying in regular contact with your boss and colleagues. Open communication helps everyone involved, as only by understanding expectations is it possible to fulfil them. These discussions need to be proactively addressed by every working mother.

I have an ingenious idea for the times during which childcare is impossible and you have to work from home: I set up a timer for myself and my daughter that runs backwards. It is my daughter’s play time and I work focussed during this time. Then we both take a short break, I take care of my daughter and think about how I can keep her occupied afterwards. Setting these short periods of time and also making them visible is a massive help.

What is ERGO doing to support working mums?

School: ERGO is really well positioned as an employer in this respect. We have various working time models, which offer adequate flexibility to mothers and fathers. The option to convert bonus payments, such as holiday or Christmas bonuses, into leisure time also gives employees the opportunity to acquire even more freedom. At some point or other, I would like managers to have even more courage to get involved with this issue. My experience is that employees then reciprocate and really appreciate the gesture.

So you would say that women with children can have a good career with ERGO?

School: Yes, mothers can have a career. Of course, there are always challenges, but there are also challenges if you don’t have children. The framework for a career is already in place at ERGO.

You are also a member of the Women's Network at ERGO. Why is this network important?

School: The idea behind the Women’s Network is really great and I am thrilled that so many women are seriously committed to it. It is valuable and important that women swap ideas and share hints and suggestions with each other. The fact that women also want to have a career and can have a career is still a relatively new development – from a social point of view. Companies have been around since the Industrial Revolution, but women have really only held management positions for around 60 years. That is why it is good for women to share ideas and offer each other mutual support.

The interview was conducted by Benjamin Esche.

Your opinion
If you would like to share your opinion on this topic with us, please send us a message to socialmedia@ergo.de.

Related articles

People & stories 04.11.2020

More understanding, less obstacles for people with disabilities

Anyone who goes through life with a disability will encounter hurdles from time to time. The new inklusion@ergo network is designed to help reduce these within our company. The idea: No one should be excluded. Everyone is part of the team.  

Digitalization & innovation 21.01.2020

The importance of a view into the future

Which customer is likely to terminate its insurance in the future? That is one of the questions Rolf Mertens deals with as Head of Advanced Analytics at ERGO. In our interview, Mertens explains why prediction models are so important for an insurance company.

People & stories 07.10.2019

Internship between Big Ben and Tower Bridge

To London for a three-week internship – this dream came true for Sabine Nohr, a trainee at ERGO in Cologne. The 20-year-old was not only able to improve her language skills but at the same time also gain many other new experiences.