Carolyn wakes up at 6 A.M. and comes back from her morning jog at 7. Normally, that’s the wake-up time for all her 3 girls of age 3, 5, and 7. Wasting no moment, Carolyn starts her day by preparing her girls for their virtual classroom that starts at 8:30. By the time she finishes all her chores, it is usually 9 A.M., which also happens to be her log-in time. She logs in and attends her first zoom call, scheduled at 9:15.
Doesn’t that sound similar to many of you working women out there?
There are many similar Carolyns struggling to balance work and life in today’s pandemic-fraught world. The recent pandemic may have given us more time with our family members, but the challenges have stayed the same – or even increased – for working women.
We all remember Dr. Clare Wenhems’ interview with BBC News Channel about “Local Lockdowns” where she was consistently getting interrupted by her young daughter.
As HR leaders, you can work towards correcting this situation and help remotely working women overcome their daily barriers.
Here’s 4 ways HR can support and help remotely working women
1. Giving them more flexibility and freedom to choose their working hours
According to Gartner, 88% of organizations encouraged or made remote work mandatory after the COVID-19 pandemic was declared, worldwide. Working women who earlier relied on affordable childcare arrangements now take complete responsibility – without compromising work.
Both work and family caregiving responsibilities tremendously pressures working mothers, barely leaving them any breathing space. A flexible work arrangement that offers them the ability to vary working hours instead of doing it in a stretch can go a long way in minimizing their burden.
2. Ensure equality and equity
“You cannot create a diverse and inclusive business environment without ensuring that all employees are treated fairly and given equal access to opportunities and advancement” says Cindy Miller, CEO at Stericycle.
Issues of gender equality, pay gaps, and biased promotion still exist in many workplaces. Now is the time for HR leaders to take some action and push these issues back for decades.
Implement transparent pay, fair promotions and remunerations, and gender-free growth opportunities that will help remotely working women succeed.
3. Allow them to get vocal about their thoughts and opinions
Let your women employees speak up about the organizational changes and initiatives.
“When employees know they have a voice and are valued by their employers, they feel better connected with each other, with leadership, and with company values” says Shaheen, VP of Strategy and People Operations at Kazoo.
4. Provide personalized benefits
Consider offering the following personalized benefits to help remotely working women, wherever they are at their lives:
- Fertility benefits for women planning to conceive
- Caregiving services for women having young children at home
- Remote tutoring benefits for women with school-going children
- Create an all-women support group and let women empower women by talking on various topics and pain points