While the new reality created by COVID-19 has challenged everyone, the impact on women in the workplace has been especially acute. Numerous reports and articles, including the annual McKinsey & Company ‘Women in the Workplace’ study point to negative impacts not only on the advancement of women into leadership roles, but their continued participation in the workforce. Whether or not women are in care-giver roles, the stress is greatly affecting everyone.
Companies are realizing the advantages of a diverse workforce to innovation and financial success, but societal and global health issues have negatively impacted recent gains and threaten diversity in the workforce pipeline for years to come.
There are no easy answers or quick fixes, but organizations and management that demonstrate empathy, provide flexibility, and support employees with tools to address new work/life stressors are more likely have a healthier and positively engaged workforce. Educating managers on ways to be more flexible, establishing mutually beneficial boundaries and embracing potential solutions such as adoption of hybrid virtual working models for employees are critical to strengthening the roles of women in this new and extremely challenging work climate.
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