The first week in August marks World Breastfeeding Week: a time set aside to celebrate and encourage breastfeeding and the health of mothers and babies. Breastfeeding, of course, should be protected and supported every day of the year, but it’s not always easy for moms to fit it into their day-to-day lives, particularly when they’re spending a large chunk of their waking hours at work.
Breastfeeding or pumping breast milk is not only time consuming, but it’s also a deeply personal ritual that most women prefer to complete in a private and comfortable environment. And while the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act stipulates that all workplaces must have a designated private space for nursing mothers, unfortunately, many working moms report to offices each day that have limited or poorly designed areas for pumping (read: utility closets or rooms without locking doors).
In addition, nursing moms face bias from their colleagues: a study published in The Journal of Applied Communication Research revealed that 25% of coworkers expressed a moderate to strong stigma against breastfeeding women; they disapproved of the women’s need to break to pump breast milk and showed little desire to help new moms.
Luckily, though, there are some office space providers, like Industrious, that consider comprehensive wellness rooms a non-negotiable part of their offerings. Industrious has more than 80 locations across 45 U.S. cities, and each of its spaces comes with a designated room for breastfeeding, pumping or other medical needs. In other words, Industrious is doing all that it can to normalize breastfeeding and pumping at the workplace.
Unlike at many offices, at Industrious spaces it’s clear that the wellness rooms were not merely installed as an afterthought. While the spaces allow for maximum privacy — meaning outsiders cannot see into them — you’d never mistake them for closets.
In fact, Industrious equips its wellness rooms with the very amenities and products women would use if they were feeding or pumping from the comfort of their own home: each includes a fridge for milk storage, breast pump storage space, a box with pump wipes, tissues, blankets, and a comfortable chair to make moms feel at ease. All locations have either a sink with hand soap or hand sanitizer, and Industrious makes sure its wellness rooms are temperature-controlled to be warmer than the rest of the office.
Moreover, the aesthetics of Industrious’s wellness rooms match those of the rest of their office spaces: they’re modern and chic, and it’s visibly clear that much thought and care went into their creation.
Breastfeeding — a crucial component to the health of many moms and babies — should not be considered a luxury. While most workplaces may be slow to accommodate new moms accordingly, Industrious is leading the way in providing comfort and support to mothers who are adjusting to returning to work after having a baby.
If you’re looking for an office space that would better support your needs — or those of your employees — check out the flexible workspace offerings at Industrious.