Companies to Come Forward to Support Women for a New Beginning
The COVID-19 crisis has created a shift from the work-life balance to the unification of both in the new normal. Several companies encouraged work from home during the lockdown and are even continuing, on one side of the coin it is ensuring the safety of employees, when we look at the other side aren’t the employees, specifically women employees going extra miles?
“Previously a space solely for relaxation and one we would crave for after a hard day’s work, the home is now a workspace, school and recreation-centre, all combined into a single space.”– Saloni Khosla, Pepperfry
Yes, home is not just about personal space anymore. It is about accommodating work, family life, school, and recreation, all under one roof in this new normal. Being an all-rounder of the family, women are leading a havoc life since the spread of the pandemic. Daily kitchen routines, Office work, Online classes, health-care, elderly-care, child-care, personal care and many, the list of chores keep piling like a never-ending to-do list.
The indirect impact of COVID-19 on women is that without being infected, they are financially affected.
Various means through which COVID-19 is impacting women include gender inequality, lower wages, fewer opportunities, limited access to digital technologies, financial limitations, health issues, security, and social constraints.
The Actual Scenario
The pandemic has led many companies to emphasize work from home to most of their employees, resulting in living and working from the same environment. Initially, many working in the non-IT, educational sector, Financial sector, and health care sector saw a struggle in the early phase of adopting the digital workforce. Many working in manufacturing, textiles, tourism and restaurants lost their employment due to lockdown and restrictions imposed. In a nutshell, the women workforce was the most affected.
Let us try to understand how companies with women workforce can step in to address a few of these issues.
The Challenges faced by Women Workforce: How companies can help them
“The data always says women are spending a lot more time on housework … than men. The more interesting question is: What do you do with the data?”— Mayra Buvinic, senior fellow, Data2X
True it is!
Adorning multiple hats at the same time and struggling to cope with ongoing issues, the one who does not have time to look back and forth is nevertheless the woman herself.
Child And Elderly Care: Flexible working and care options to increase productivity
Child-care & Elderly care is crucial at COVID times. At present, the cost of hiring for child-care help and elderly help is skyrocketing as only a limited resource is available. With this limitation of external support, it additionally requires the working women to buy out extra time from work.
A survey conducted implies that 81% of working mothers agreed that their effective work engagement is negatively impacted due to the COVID-19 crisis.
Much before this pandemic, many working women had stress and pressure in handling the work and home life now it has further wrecked. Nearly women spend 15 hours more than men every week, doing daily home chores.
The unplanned circumstances at home sometimes do not allow women to focus on her work with complete engagement. In turn, results in lower productivity and increases mental stress, equating the more efforts spent with fewer returns.
Digital Gaps: Assisting in digital infrastructure can boost WFH
The essential component that gained attention due to COVID-19 in our society is the futuristic digital infrastructure, which is resilient and crucial at the moment. Compared to men, women lack the digital assets for operating business. At the age of the Internet, most of the supply chain activities and business sales, orders going online, women are finding short of investment to roll back into businesses. Large companies where these women-centric organizations form their supply chain can reach out to help them.
Gender Equalities: The unheard Voices
When it comes to decision making, in an organization, the opinions of women are never asked or even if asked never end up on the discussion table. At this juncture, it becomes essential for organizations to listen and address the needs of the women workforce to maintain a balance and stabilize the remote working.
Shadow Pandemic: Battling the War in homes
The first 68 days of lockdown is when more complaints of domestic violence, on women were registered in India, the highest compared to the previous ten years.
About 86% of women who experience a battle at home never seek help, 77% of them never mention.
When the outside world is battling the pandemic of the century, the long unnoticed DEADLIEST war at many homes continues.
Pregnancy & Postpartum Depression: Addressing the most critical phase of Working women
Pregnancy in working women is seen as vulnerable from the health care and retention point. As the novel coronavirus, changed our lives. Many pregnant and recent moms are turning to their HR teams for helping them cope up in this new situation. With the C-section delivery doubled since 2000, which is nearly one-third newborns, toiling the health of women and babies. It directly affects retention, longevity in the job role.
Postpartum depression is a common phenomenon affecting the mental health of working new moms. The deadline for workload, newborn care, sudden physical and emotional changes, hormonal imbalance, mood swings not only affect women’s health, but it also reduces her quality work.
Working Parents: The top Priority Zone of every Company
The immediate closure of schools due to coronavirus spread, most organizations, schools, government and educational institutions have shifted to imparting education online. Most Working parents are struggling to manage their time. Juggling between office work and helping their child to learn is a common scenario. Here again, women step in and spend more hours supporting the learning, nearly 15 hours more than men. For many companies, it is a top priority as these working parents are their top talent-pool. Losing them could be a big loss.
Family Life & Work-Life Balancing: Cause & Effect Theory
A survey reveals 60% of working parents have no outside help in caring for and educating children. In such a situation, one of the parents must decide to step in to handle it, mostly the mother(working women) decides to step in and focus on supporting family needs.
RELATED POST: The Impact of COVID on Women
Cause & Effect Theory
Digitization of everything has brought the effect of forcing many women to take a back seat in her career.
The After-Effect: Look forward and support Women Workforce
The severity of the impact is yet in the beginning stage if large organizations take a look into arriving at aiding solutions, then prevention of widening the impact is possible.
Companies are thinking about hiring a local workforce to fill openings due to reverse-migration
Due to lockdown, 20 million individuals reverse-migrated, a large number of women workforce left their jobs and transited back. Now that several manufacturing units and companies are beginning to function back, stimulating the hiring process with the expectation 70% of women to join the workforce.
Women Entrepreneurship: The HER Rise waiting to conquer the world
The small and medium business(SME) have been hit hard by the pandemic. Most of the businesses owned by women fall into SME. 40.6% of women-led companies lay-off their staff. With the government coming up with many schemes aiding women entrepreneurs, these are mostly focusing on the STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) innovations. However, the MSME schemes in countries like India are a boon to many women entrepreneurs. A perfect time to capitalize and conquer the world!
Healthcare: Why companies Should care the well being
The impact caused by COVID on women mental health and emotional well-being is immeasurable. The common health issues like PCOS, PCOD, and others like depression, insomnia, anxiety, anger, emotional exhaustion did exist before COVID-19 in a woman’s life. But with the pandemic outbreak, balancing the work and health are two high-priorities for working women. Companies must look into this as health issues may, in the long run, affect productivity. Some measures companies can arrange like personal one-on-one counselling for women employees with Counsellors to address issues, Provide telehealth support by collaborating with healthcare teams.
Addressing the After-Effect
Companies can come forward with solutions like Flexible working options that include prioritizing work, make workload based schedules and reallocate resources for short-term crisis handling.
Coming Together for a New Beginning!
The new-normal work culture is a challenge for both employer and employee. Women in the workforce are already pursuing a dual-career, one at their professional and the other at their personal.
Ignoring the voices of women in the workforce could seriously hamper an organization’s growth. At this juncture, it becomes essential for organizations to listen and address the needs of the women workforce to maintain a balance and stabilize the remote working.
“Ultimately, the greatest lesson that COVID-19 can teach humanity is that we are all in this together.”– Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw
The one best solution we could think is for companies, the government, all men, and women to come together to address the issues working women face.