Women Employees Now Wish To End Work From Home, Resume Work From Office; But Why?
Female employees have been yearning to return to the physical office as work from home (WFH) started at the beginning of the pandemic now completes a year.
Even as WFH offers several benefits such as no more long commutes to and from home, better security for women, a cut in office rental costs, etc, the transition from traditional workspace models has been especially tough for women.
One common complaint is that women have had to wear multiple hats and have had to switch from one role to another while at home. Be it the role of a mother, a wife, or daughter in law, women have had to handle all domestic responsibilities on top of professional obligations.
As public recreational spaces such as malls and gyms have shuttered, people have taken to visiting neighbours’ houses for socialising, which adds another burden of responsibility on a woman to entertain guests and provide hospitality.
Stepping Out Is A Relief
Staring in the face of all of these duties and commitments means stepping out of the home even for a few hours to join office comes as a huge respite and relief for women wanting to get away from it all.
In places where a complete return to the physical office has still not been made, professional co-working spaces have been a temporary solution. WeWork India has reported that its daily pass scheme where one can pay for a single day access has been availed by 40% of women.
No More Me-Time
Initially on the surface WFH appeared to be a godsend to women who have had to shuttle between office and home while shouldering responsibilities in both domains which was now integrated under the same roof.
However WFH has blurred the lines between work and home life. Women’s personal spaces for work have gone for a toss in the face of children’s online classes or extra responsibilities in a joint family household.
Career Prospects Affected
Several companies have lost women employees who resigned due to the intense and unique pressures that come from such a model.
Career advancement prospects for women were also adversely impacted since they could no longer meet peers and colleagues and participate in networking activities, something men use as tools to advance their own careers.
What Can Employers Do?
Companies have been advised to offer childcare payments and benefits which would take the task of childcare off of womens’ hands and help them focus more on work.
Flexible hours are also recommended so that women and their spouses can divide chores so that both are not working simultaneously.
Another important point made was to give women the freedom to switch off employee monitoring software or time tracking devices. When women do domestic chores at the same time as work, such as breastfeeding, this should not be captured on such monitoring software.
But the most important thing of all would be to be aware of, understanding and sympathising with all the challenges exclusively faced by women and how their burdens only multiplied while WFH. Based around this knowledge companies can create a more supportive environment so as to encourage women to live out to the best of their potential.