4 ways employers can support women in a post-pandemic workplace

How to combat increased burnout amongst women and retain female staff

At a time of global disruption during Covid-19, the world felt the weight of quarantining and began to recognise the importance of wellbeing in the workplace. With the concept of social interaction completely off-limits, the damaging effects of stringent living restrictions left individuals struggling to navigate a new working lifestyle.

While health and wellbeing rose as hot topics in the world of work, it became abundantly clear that the pandemic has disproportionately affected women. From their circumstances at home to their health, work and financial situations – increasing stress required a new change of policies for businesses worldwide.

Over two years on from the onset of the pandemic, a report from Deloitte, which surveyed 5000 women across 10 countries, revealed half of women admit their stress levels are higher than they were one year ago – despite the shifting working arrangements. The report also highlighted that 46% of women said they feel burned out. This burnout is the main factor driving women away from their employers, with almost 40% of women stating they are actively seeking a new employer.

While offering on-trend benefits like the ability to work from home and asynchronous working hours is beneficial to people in some circumstances, in others, the levels of burnout continue to rise and businesses should consider implementing other ways of reducing stress in the workplace for women.

At Mauve, we pride ourselves on our high staff retention rate in a predominantly female workspace. Below, we have outlined some of our top tips on how businesses can better support women in an increasingly stressful work environment. 

1. Equality in flexibility

Flexibility benefits have become a desirable work perk for professionals as the pandemic demonstrated that more focus should be placed on a healthy work-life balance. But advertising your business as a flexible organisation is only valuable if the employer has taken the time to consider how it can be used to maximise employee satisfaction.

Employers should consider their workers’ personal circumstances – for example, by offering parents the flexibility to drop off and pick their children up from school or allowing individuals to begin work an hour earlier so they can finish in time to leave for a special event or occasion.

Businesses should further take into account that social provisions and attitudes often result in women being expected to take greater time and responsibility for raising a child. Offering equal paternity care can minimise the burden and allow women and their partners to have a choice in how they balance their work and home lives. 

2. Acknowledge the importance of wellbeing

According to the report from Deloitte, a third of women have taken time off work due to mental health challenges. Additionally, only 39% of them admitted they feel comfortable disclosing their mental health challenges as the reason for their absence.

In a time of increased burnout and pressure, employers must consider how they can help their workers feel more comfortable talking about their mental state. The simplest actions of support can go a long way – ask how your employees are feeling, make it clear that it is okay to take a day off for their wellbeing and implement ways to relieve stress throughout their working day.

In Sweden, many companies make coffee breaks a mandatory part of their workday. Also known as Fika, people indulge in coffee and cake over social conversations between working hours. Studies have found that taking these breaks can reduce or prevent stress, help maintain performance throughout the day and reduce the need for a long recovery at the end of the day.

3. Review your company structure

Multiple studies have shown that organisations with a diverse workforce allow for a variety of skillsets and are more lucrative. But despite the rising awareness around equality and female representation, many employers are a long way off from equality and remain in the mindset of traditional stereotypes – resulting in more men in managerial positions and higher seniority levels than women.

Sometimes the lack of equality can be caused by unconscious bias and is overlooked by the organisation without ill intention. But what is overlooked by an employer can have a detrimental effect on the women feeling undervalued and disposable in their employment.

Employers should review their company structure and identify if there are any changes they should implement to better represent women. Some companies have set public targets for diversity, where they aim to hire X number of women by a set date and continue this strategy going forward.

4. Listen

Arguably the most essential tip – listen to the women in your business. Every individual is under the pressure of differing circumstances. Whether they feel undervalued or lack the time to carry out their responsibilities efficiently, maintaining an understanding of your workers’ unique feelings and situations is crucial in improving your job as an employer to minimise burnout and stress.

You may find it helpful to conduct an employee survey every six months or regularly to gain insight into what can be done to enhance employee satisfaction and create benefits that are suited to your respective employees.

If you would like assistance supporting your worker overseas, get in touch with our team of experts here. Mauve Group offers a range of solutions to make international expansion easy.

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