The most practical way for women to reorient their careers

From OUR EDITORIAL STAFF we have dealt on several occasions with the problems of the labor market, especially for postgraduates from business schools, their opportunities and windows that open after completing an MBA. No less interesting and also important is the issue we are addressing today, that is, the reorientation of women’s work and professional activity.

As for the return to work in companies, this process for women is clear that remote work has been favorable in every way: both in job performance and in the good organization they have made of their work in home

 

If there is something that has been worrying in recent months, once the terrible scourge of the pandemic has come out of the world, it is, among many other issues, that of the return to jobs at company headquarters. In particular, how women were handling this process, since it is clear that remote work has been favorable to them in every way: both in job performance and in the good organization they have made of their work at home.

It is interesting to see what some executive women think and also what the surveys and/or different studies that have been carried out in different countries tell us, precisely to address the specific issue of the reorientation of women’s work.

Experts and analysts in the world of work are the first to advise that you should continue to explore all possible options. That nothing is closed. That virtual work has changed everything, it has been especially beneficial for women.

In the midst of a pandemic, Crystal Eisinger reinvented her career. She quit a senior marketing job at Google, used her savings to buy her favorite local cafe, and became CEO of a music streaming startup, Keakie.

She first points out a point of interest that large organizations, especially multinationals, although essential for personal training and development because of their importance, can also be hierarchical and slow.

Second, she says, it was the pandemic that forced her into a lockdown that made her stop to see what was making her unhappy and make some drastic changes. Last spring, in March, Eisinger was raising £3m for Keakie’s pre-Series A funding round and renovated the café, Urban Pantry, in Chiswick, London. But she’s not the only female entrepreneur who has reevaluated her career. Precisely, in the so-called “Great Resignation” that occurred in 2021, many workers left their jobs for better paid and/or more satisfying jobs.

“Unexpected events or shocks like the pandemic create fertile conditions for major career changes by making us reflect on our priorities,” says Herminia Ibarra, professor of organizational behavior at London Business School and author of “Act Like a Leader, Think Like a Leader”. ” (Act like a leader, think like a leader). Because she believes that in the face of mortality (a clear reference to the pandemic) people ask ourselves the big existential questions and gather the courage to make the necessary changes.

The lockdown also severed ties with jobs and workplaces, she adds. “It’s easier to consider doing something else when you’re no longer immersed in the social circles and daily routines of your job.”

A study last year by McKinsey, the consultancy, found that women around the world had been disproportionately affected by the pandemic, with more women than men intending to change jobs or reduce their shift

 

More women than men affected by the pandemic

A study last year by McKinsey, the consultancy, found that women around the world had been disproportionately affected by the pandemic, with more women than men intending to change jobs or cut their shift. A 2020 Catalyst survey found that 62% of female employees said that Covid-19 would hurt their prospects for promotion at work.

A career change is a “necessarily messy journey of exploration,” says Ibarra. She suggests that it should involve small, practical steps in discovering new options, rather than jumping into the unknown and hoping for the best.

Simple questions like what do I want?

Jeremy Borys, managing director of the US-based global consulting firm AlixPartners says you should first ask yourself: What do I want? What do I expect? What can I deal with? What don’t I want?

He although he affirms that, to move forward, it is also necessary to look back. Think about the jobs you’ve done, the companies you’ve worked for, and the people you’ve worked with. And of all these questions you must remember what did you really enjoy?

He believes that you should not limit yourself to wanting to know the next role (in terms of work) that you are going to have, and less to be blinded by the salary or the title. “When you are doing something meaningful and satisfying, the other things will follow.”

For many women, the work-from-home revolution has felt, for the first time, as if they could reach that mythical place of having it all. What caused this feeling? A lot of feeling of a certain type of oppression in work environments, so that they suddenly feel so liberated?

 

What employers need to know

It is always said regarding the good management of emotions that self-discovery must be encouraged. Since the post-Covid era is implying a change in the evolution of racing, whether it is wanted or not. Hence it is important to allow staff the opportunity to recharge and reinvent themselves.

“Organizations should give people time for self-reflection,” says Edge’s Aniela Unguresan. Indeed, UK fintech Monzo Bank will offer its 2,200 employees a three-month paid sabbatical every four years, as it rethinks how staff should balance work life post-pandemic.

From what we’ve researched, there are a number of women who have expressed the relief they feel in avoiding going through pregnancy and postpartum in the often very masculine space of the physical office

 

 

Stay connected

And surprisingly, experts are saying that “staying connected,” a typical tool that is very useful for employees, is also true for employers, since by making sure to keep in touch with those who are not there, they may be exploring exciting new initiatives and may even one day rejoin the organization with new perspectives and ideas.

“Take care of your alumni,” says Sarah Ellis, in Amazing If. “Your former employees can be your advocates as well as your future talent.”

The surprising thing about the response of women

Undoubtedly when we look at the surveys that have been carried out in various countries in the post-Covid stage, when we wanted to know how people viewed their remote work and/or return to the office, what is most surprising are the responses and the various considerations made by women.

That there has been a work revolution doing it from home is evidence, although it can also become a trap for women. We are going to unravel in our contribution today from OUR EDITORIAL, if everyone has won (in reality, the great beneficiary is the concept of flexibility) and how the impact has been on women.

For many women, the work-from-home revolution has felt, for the first time, as if they could reach that mythical place of having it all. What caused this feeling? A lot of feeling of a certain type of oppression in work environments, so that they suddenly feel so liberated?

Actually, women love reduced or non-existent travel times; It is also true that they are willing to spend less time on their physical appearance and less money on their wardrobe.

From what we’ve researched, there are a number of women who have reported the relief it takes for them to avoid going through pregnancy and postpartum in the often very masculine space of the physical office. Women like to make their own lunches without the comments of others. They like being able to use their own bathrooms.

Extensive survey data has repeatedly revealed that some mothers in intense male-dominated industries, like finance or law, or with older leadership teams, feel pressured to go to the office more than they’d like. In other words, what is seen in general is that, if a company offers flexible work, women accept it.

A 2021 study found that 60% of women say that if their company tries to force them to return to the office full-time, they will seek employment elsewhere. For women, flexibility in itself is no longer just an advantage, but indispensable. And this is not a simple accommodation, but a real paradigm shift.

A 2021 study found that 60% of women say that if their company tries to force them to return to the office full-time, they will seek employment elsewhere. For women, flexibility in itself is no longer just an advantage, but indispensable. And this is not a simple accommodation, but a real paradigm shift

 

There is an important trap in this utopia of what is called WFH (Work From Home), that is, work from home. That extra flexibility opens up a space, and that space is quickly filled with responsibilities that have once again been fairly distributed: between husband and wife in a relationship, but also between citizens and the society of which they are a part.

If we consider the fairly common scenario of two parents working white-collar jobs in or around a city in the pre-pandemic stage, the typical situation was as follows: one child goes to primary school full time; the other is still in kindergarten. Before the pandemic, the women’s workplace, like so many workplaces, discouraged remote work beyond emergency situations, such as a sick child. As a result, the family had a strong network of family and paid options for days when daycare was closed or school was dismissed early. One of the parents left him; the other picked up; they both worked from 8 or 9 in the morning until 5 or 6 in the afternoon each day.

But this has taken a substantial turn in the last two years, in which most of those clear boundaries and carefully designed arrangements have dissolved. The women’s workplace has instituted a hybrid setup, in which all employees are required to be in the office, depending on the company, two or three days a week. Some companies have already brought everyone back to the office. But the woman, once she completes her day, has the other burden that she always assumes has to do with the house, the children, homework and dinner. In other words, a good load of responsibility (mental load) that she cannot give up.

When the children return home, she will be dividing her time between the tasks that she does remote from her work and the housework.

However, the standards at her partner’s job are for daily or near-daily in-person work. She still commutes 30 minutes or more to and from the office. She also makes more money, in part because she didn’t have to leave the workforce twice for maternity leave.

No matter how theoretically equitable the marriage is, it is easy to see which of the couple is going to take on more domestic and caregiving responsibilities: the woman because she is the couple’s “partner” who is often in the home with greater proximity to children and whose career is already consciously or unconsciously de-prioritized, being one of the money earners in the family that generally has the lowest salary. When the nursery closes because there is a lack of staff or one of the children is sick, she can cover.

In this way, the added flexibility becomes both a blessing and a burden for women in the workplace. But it can also lead to a much more regressive division of labor than either partner intended.

It is also true that some women earn more than their husbands and are the primary breadwinners in the family. In fact, this is the case in about 25% of married heterosexual households in the United States. Global studies have found that same-sex couples are much more likely to share unpaid housework equally.

The results of Deloitte’s 2022 Women at Work survey are shocking, with 53% of 5,000 women surveyed reporting higher stress levels than a year ago

 

And what about all the men whose jobs might offer more flexibility than their spouses?

This is where it gets complicated: when it comes to flexibility, many men don’t take it, even when it’s available. There’s no big data yet on who’s back in the office, but we do know that in a survey of 10,000 knowledge workers last May in the US, 60% of moms want to work remotely three to five days a week. a week, compared to 50% of parents.

Although many parents have enjoyed the ways that remote work has allowed them to be more physically present in their children’s lives, in many companies, particularly those dominated by men (which is the majority), the assumption still prevails that Men are not the primary or equal caregivers.

In these organizations, long hours at the office, and refusing her full parental leave, has long been a male employee’s way of demonstrating her dedication and masculinity. That understanding is often shaped by leadership, which is still overwhelmingly male-dominated and, not coincidentally, also expresses the strongest desire to return to the office: 44% of executives want to return to the office full-time. , compared to 17% of non-executives.

But part of the problem is also that many men don’t care so much about going to the office. These parents may not love the office, but they don’t see flexibility as an absolute necessity if their family’s life is to continue to run smoothly. Or, in some cases, they are consciously or unconsciously choosing to distance themselves from the possibility of doing more unpaid domestic work.

These types of decisions appear in the data collected on paid and unpaid work in the last two years. A study by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development found that 61.5% of mothers of children under the age of 12 reported taking on most or all of additional care work in 2020, compared to 22 .4% of parents. Notably, parents in two-parent, two-income households consistently overestimate the amount of care work they do, a phenomenon that continued throughout the pandemic.

Furthermore, the study found that even when the father was unemployed and the mother had a job, the mother still did more unpaid care work.

Sometimes the burden of that extra care work, and the continued lack of access to outside care, meant that women had to leave their jobs altogether.

The results of Deloitte’s 2022 Women at Work survey are shocking, with 53% of 5,000 women surveyed reporting higher stress levels than a year ago. A staggering 46% felt burned out and 33% had taken time off to deal with their mental health. Among women actively looking for a new job, 40% of women cited burnout as their main reason.

Some women explained how their companies are working to combat the kind of proximity bias that could hold women back, in which the workers who tend to get promoted are the ones who are most often physically on the job.

 

One source of their burnout is certainly the workplace itself

Some women explained how their companies are working to combat the kind of proximity bias that could hold women back, in which the workers who tend to get promoted are the ones who are most often physically on site. Overall, the vast majority were thankful that their organizations were still trying to figure out hybrid iterations, even if some of those iterations were clunky and annoying.

The problem, they said, is not the flexibility itself. It was how that flexibility has facilitated their transformation into one-woman safety nets.

In one of the many interviews that were done to see the role of women in this situation of reorientation of work, the interviewee who is a woman who works in the field of human rights detailed all the specific and feasible ways in which her employer could improve its policies around flexibility and productivity. But when asked if most of the problems in his life were the result of labor politics or social norms, his answer was unequivocal: his employer was doing a lot and could do more, but there is not much an organization can do. to counteract the currents of a society increasingly hostile to women in general and mothers in particular.

An organization can go to great lengths to mitigate social trends and burdens. You can set a shining example of making careers accessible to women and mothers. It can give women incredible flexibility, the empty suitcase to pack and carry as they choose. And to be clear, women have gravitated and will continue to gravitate toward companies that spend time, effort, and policy development to make work sustainable.

But even the most progressive and flexible organization cannot control the ways in which partners and governments choose to fill that empty suitcase far beyond its capacity and are surprised when so many women collapse under the imperative to carry it with their heads held high. .

If companies really want to counter the pervasive societal assault on women, the battlefield absolutely includes their own company policies and, more importantly, how leadership authentically and consistently models them.

However, that is only one battlefield. Confronting the larger war on women demands something beyond human resources, something that, for many organizations, might even feel beyond their reach as a single company. But they are wrong. A corporation can only do so much. But hundreds, thousands, coming together to support legislation that works to fundamentally reorient how we can organize, share, and distribute care and domestic work? This is how the war is won.

 

This information has been prepared by OUR EDITORIAL STAFF

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