More than a year into the pandemic, COVID-19 continues to disrupt the workplace. Amid the ever-shifting landscape of policies and protocols, two trends stand out: the rise of remote working and the falling participation of women in the workforce. Since March 2020, nearly 1.8 million women have dropped out of the labor force, yet companies are scrambling for talent—creating new emphasis on the meaning of Women’s Equality Day, celebrated Aug. 26.
Ultimately, employers must listen to the female workforce’s demand for flexible work arrangements if they hope to recruit and retain talent in today’s competitive hiring market.
Certainly, remote and hybrid options hold promise for women while the world grapples with the next year or more of recovery. The ability to manage their own time, the logic goes, will make it easier for female employees to handle household tasks that still mostly fall on their plate. These measures are already popular and increasingly viewed as non-negotiable by female workers. But working from home can have downsides that impede efforts to build more inclusive workplaces with equal growth opportunities.
Given that professional women already struggle to be heard, will their chances for promotion shrink further in a world dominated by virtual meetings? And then there are the impromptu brainstorms and teaching moments at the water cooler—will these opportunities flow to those (men) commuting in-person while staff working from home are isolated and passed over?
Read the full article on how employers, led by HR, can leverage the advantages of workplace flexibility without ingraining disparities and set up frameworks to address what was normal, what is the new normal and what may be the future in Human Resources Executive Magazine.