Creating a Parent-Inclusive Workplace


Posted: May 12, 20193 min read

This is a guest post from Laurel Kiskanyan, Senior Recruiter here at DigitalOcean.

This Mother’s Day I’m also celebrating my daughter’s first birthday. Whereas this time last year I was struggling to keep a tiny human (and myself for that matter) alive, this year I’ve had a chance to reflect on what is important to me as a working parent in the tech industry.

DigitalOcean’s culture of inclusivity makes us all feel like real people (not just employees). As a new parent, here are some aspects of our company culture that I’ve found particularly welcome.

A no judgement zone

Didn’t have time to throw anything on today other than jeans and a sweatshirt? Is every weekday a bad hair day? Have to miss happy hour? Need to run out in the middle of that 5pm meeting to get to daycare before closing?

It’s all good. Enforcing a dress code isn’t a priority for anyone at the company. We ensure that there are plenty of ways to bond with colleagues, such as over (free!) lunch every day overlooking our beautiful neighborhood, or during a virtual coffee hangout with employees around the world. And results are what matter: being the last one in the office isn’t seen as the one true sign of hard work (apparently this is mind-blowing in NYC).


Parents know that having a child helps with time management and multitasking more than almost anything else imaginable. Being efficient is key as a parent, and because DigitalOcean gives you true ownership over your schedule, we parents are just as kick ass as our peers at getting our work done. As Stefania Lagna, Manager of Tax, put it, “It’s great to work at a company where the level of flexibility – such as working remotely and an unlimited time off policy – makes it easier to be a great parent and be good at your profession.”

Recently, at lunch I reflected over a recent New York Times article with Lisa Montin, our Director of Business Operations. The gist of the article was that many women feel forced to work part time to support their families and their partners’ careers. Reacting to this, Lisa said, “We’re so lucky that DigitalOcean doesn’t force us to make this tradeoff. Moms can have interesting and challenging roles that also allow us to complete our work within business hours.”

A comfortable work environment

As we all know, sometimes it can feel less hectic at the office than at home. We’re set up for all different work styles. An open office format doesn’t work for everyone, so we have a quiet room called The Reef, lots of comfy chairs and couches, and a roof deck to catch some sun midday. If you’re still nursing or pumping, our Mother’s Room might become your new office – it certainly rivals the executive offices in style.

Generous parental leave

Everyone needs time for baby bonding – but let’s face it, parental leave might be even more about recovery and adjustment. DigitalOcean sent me everything I needed for baby’s first bathtime delivered right to my door – baby shark outfit and all! Knowing my company cares for me as a person and a parent was especially meaningful during those challenging first few days.

The standard maternity policy at DO includes four months of leave plus a two-month transition period of part-time work (all fully paid). Most new moms would agree with Shweta Saraf, our Director of Network Engineering, who took advantage of six months of maternity leave which she felt “allowed for a natural transition back to work.”

A sense of real community

There are various #parents slack channels to browse and share in, where new and veteran parents alike can share war stories. And, when you’re tired of talking about pediatricians and nighttime routines and just want to browse cute pups, there’s always #dogpix to release some stress.

In the end, inclusion is about belonging. This Mother’s Day, I’m proud to be part of a workplace that treats me – and all parents – as though we truly belong and our experiences matter.


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