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Women inclusion and the future of work post COVID-19.

An overview of the changes here to stay post COVID and the future of work, through inclusive leadership.

By Patrycja Riera, CEO Inclusionem

Offices are empty. Employees are working from home. There is already a large number of service workers and corporate workers that lost their jobs. Corporates are wondering how long they can last and hope to re-open their doors.

But even if they do, it will look differently.

Work has changed in a profound way

What we thought was impossible, like remote and flexible work, became achievable. Empathy and trust became the glue that kept people going, and brought hope and unity.

So far it’s not a good thing for women overall..

an illustration of what gender equality in an abundance mindset

Despite the fact that women outnumber men in paid work force, women still do more domestic work and childcare – almost twice as much as their male partners.

With the shut down of school and childcare facilities, working from home is not easier when parents juggle job responsibility, full time childcare and supervision of children’s education.

We know that women make up 70% of all health and social-services staff globally but only 25% of executive roles in senior leadership positions. Women earn just 79 cents for every dollar a man makes.

The gender pay gap shows that women are particularly vulnerable economically, their personal finances are weaker than men’s, and their position in the labor market is less secure.

What does the future of work look like

According to the World Economic Forum, the COVID-19 crisis has highlighted the gender-based differences and they suggest that every government, organization, and international financial institutions must recognize that women have to play a critical role in resolving the crisis.

In order to tackle this situation, measures to address the pandemic and its economic effect should include a gender perspective.

Reinventing organisations

As with every crisis, this one showed what’s working and what’s not and it highlighted how the current structures supporting workplaces and society don’t work anymore.

This is an opportunity for leaders and organizations to rethink, rewrite and redesign how we work and lead to create a more gender balanced corporate workplace.

We need to forget that work is limited to a specific time and place.

We need to design our workplaces to be inclusive and fulfilling, in which every woman of color, race, age and religion can contribute and thrive.

One that is intended for both men and women, particularly now, when remote and flexible work, plus family commitments come into play.

We present five areas which can help you as an organization to build a path into a more inclusive workplace.

The future of work must be built with an inclusive mindset

A diverse group of individuals

In times of uncertainty and ambiguity, where change is imposed on people, business survival is key, but how we do it matters too.

As you move towards a new strategy, mission, infrastructure and technology, how you do it will be crucial in order to implement the change effectively

With an inclusive mindset, you can create predictability amid unpredictability.

Because what’s better than positioning employees with a compelling vision, a reliable road map and motivation to achieve it?

This includes transparent and equitable change processes and goals to build trust and reduce negative impact of the changes and difficulties related to job security that employees face today more than in previous years.

When we are less stressed, face less uncertainty and are more engaged, our commitment and performance improve and impact the overall organizational efficiency.

Confront Biases and Beliefs

In this time and season, the virus does not choose between poor and rich, gender, race or religion.

It is visible that many people whose occupation, income, race/ethnicity and gender have different access to resources such as health insurance, medicine, housing, etc. Their experience of this pandemic has been shaped by the inequities.

Leaders have the power to alleviate these social divisions ..

By actions such as:

  • High level commitment to diversity and inclusion
  • Redefine and reshape what gender equity looks like in your organization
  • Face and talk about the biases and stereotype
  • Train your workforce for the skills of future
  • Work on building effective gender partnerships

Connect with empathy

In this pandemic we often hear that this season requires leaders to show empathy. But what does it mean and how does it look like?

Empathy builds human connection and is a learnable skill that is essential to build an inclusive work culture.

Research also shows that empathy is linked to positive outcomes such as agile and innovative teams in times of crisis.

There are three facets of empathy:

  • Cognitive (head/thinking)
  • Affective (heart/feeling)
  • Behavioral (action/doing)

Empathy does not only mean that you acknowledge somebodies’ pain or worry, it engages colleagues as fellow humans and encourages intentional rather than reactive responses.

Trust your team

In order to create an inclusive work environment, you need to create a culture where employees feel empowered, trusted and seen as contributors.

Trust mean involving your team members in decision-making.

Women and people of color often have less chances to do so, remember to create those when you reshape and design your working environment.

When organizations are transparent about when decisions are made, how they are made and who is involved, it creates trust, buy-in and stronger engagement.

Post Covid-19 organizations that do not transition into a more democratic structure, run a risk of further excluding employees as previously and excluding them from decision making processes.

Work remotely and flexibly

We have proven the past few months that working remotely is possible and effective. But it is not only about working remotely, it is allowing individuals to be flexible in how work gets done.

Flexible and remote working is very effective if individuals are led by inclusive leaders who pose skills such as empathy, effective communication and trust their employees.

I believe every organization will have to re-evaluate policies and structures to accommodate remote and flexible work, to not only adopt to current situation but to avoid the same challenge in the future and create a competitive advantage for themselves.

SOURCES

https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/05/what-the-covid-19-pandemic-tells-us-about-gender-equality/

https://www.bcg.com/publications/2020/inclusive-cultures-must-follow-new-lgbtq-workforce.aspx

https://amp-ft-com.cdn.ampproject.org/c/s/amp.ft.com/content/3084e0e4-c5ce-45ab-bcea-1480726fbdb8

https://www.catalyst.org

Reach out to Patrycja on linkedin

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