Companies that can’t provide flexible working options to women find it difficult to retain them, as an increasing number of companies ask employees to return to the office.
In a survey conducted by the Avtar Group for ET, four out of ten women report child care challenges when returning to work for a 9 am to 5 pm schedule.
Due to the lack of reopening of primary schools and the closure of creches, some women, especially mothers with young children, are forced to resign since they no longer have the means to support themselves and their children. The data from Avtar shows that in a majority of organizations in India, child-care is an employee issue rather than an employer concern.
Observations of the attrition rate after COVID show that women are leaving the workforce at higher rates than men. Industries such as FMCG (Fast-moving consumer goods) and manufacturing, which have more jobs but fewer options for flexibility – such as remote or hybrid working – are facing much higher attrition of female employees.
Women have a greater attrition rate than men in FMCG (24 percent vs 17 percent), while in manufacturing, women have a greater attrition rate than men (7 percent vs 3 percent), according to the data.
There is a much smaller difference between men and women in IT/ITeS, an industry that offers more flexibility to women. However, women attrition rates are much higher (29.4% women vs 28%). In another survey by Avtar, 77% of women reported not having flexible work arrangements as the reason for quitting their jobs in India.
When companies do not offer flexibility and enablers for women, such as work from home choices and flexible work schedules, they are unable to withstand the disruptions Covid causes, and they are seeing higher employee attrition rates for women.
The rates of women failing to return to work after COVID-19 continues to grow but there are solutions around it
Apart from the alarming factors noted earlier, there are still options for women to find work including information about some of the best remote work practices. There are many different ways to operate, and the remote/flexible work model makes this point clear. One can utilize their peak productivity or energy time around this time by working around it.
Flexibility will increase the engagement and retention of women in industries and organizations that adopt it early. Many progressive organizations are actively seeking out female talent to ensure that they will not lose them.
Employers must be sensitive. Certain employers do not require female employees with school-going children in places where schools have not reopened to come to work five days a week. They have the flexibility to come in whenever necessary.
Having flexibility is one of the most important factors for retaining and attracting talent, according to experts. If you are opening up the workplace, you also need to see how the supporting ecosystem is becoming more open.
Flexible working today is very important for retaining and acquiring talent in the hypercompetitive technology and startup world – where the war for talent already rages.
Many employees do not feel compelled to return to work. It will be phased in over time and employers won’t be compelled to do it at once. Also, you can check out the Field Engineer platform if you’re looking for remote/freelance work opportunities.
What is the prevalence of remote/hybrid work today?
In the UK, more than 1.5 million people are believed to be working remotely. More than half of employees stated that working outside the office would benefit them. A majority of the workforce will work remotely by 2022, according to estimates.
In other words, supply and demand are both presents. Most companies now offer the option of working remotely, as workers want this option.
Hybrid work environments: how organizations thrive
We have just witnessed a disruption to the professional world as we have known it so far. Hybrid work models are being adopted at an unprecedented rate by individuals and organizations.
A new operating model is essential for every organization going forward – one that doesn’t rely on old ideas, such as a 9-to-5 schedule. Additionally, it’s evident there are no single standards or blueprints for hybrid work.
To meet the individual needs of its employees, every organization will have to develop its approach. In the wake of the flu pandemic, employees say they want more flexible options for remote work, while they also desire more in-person collaboration. Today, we are experiencing a hybrid work paradox.
There has been a big shift in employee expectations with nearly 74 percent of Indian employees requesting continued flexibility in work-from-home policies. Leaders must embrace extreme flexibility in how, where, and when people work in this new world.
An organization’s approach to hybrid work will ultimately determine who stays, who leaves, and even who applies to join the company.
A clear vision is required at this moment. With changes happening around us continually, we must be ready to react quickly to sudden changes.
Flexibility in policies provides employees with clarity and guidance
Flexibility in policies provides employees with clarity and guidance as they experiment. We are on the cusp of the greatest shift in how we work in our generation with hybrid work. An entirely new operating model, spanning people, processes, and places, will be necessary.
After determining the policies for extreme flexibility, we should use them to approach the physical space. Henceforth, physical spaces will no longer be the sole means of collaborating, connecting, and building social capital.
This doesn’t mean that physical places and spaces aren’t important in their entirety. Simply reimagining them is needed.
To meet the unique needs of every team and their particular roles, office spaces will need to bridge the physical and digital worlds shortly. We need to maintain consistent workspaces for all employees, whether they are on-site or remote.
Regardless of where people are working, they should be able to connect to all participants, have access to the same shared information, and see what everyone is working on, whether it be a whiteboard or a document.
Secuirty is important
Securing the hybrid workplace is of paramount importance. There has never been a more complex threat landscape, and security has never been more important.
Corporate networks suddenly lack firm borders, requiring a change in the approach to security. In addition to being a board-level priority, security is an employee responsibility as well.
It’s non-negotiable for a zero-trust architecture and investments in a comprehensive platform instead of multiple point solutions when it comes to system and device security, data, and corporate networks. Business processes will be affected by the shift to hybrid, and every function will have to be transformed.
It is imperative that every part of every business process be redesigned, whether it is development, manufacturing, sales, customer service, or facilities, HR, or IT. Across the globe, freelance engineers now operate as a major force in transforming businesses.
Additionally, companies have observed that employees struggle with the work-life balance over the past year. Among Indian employees, more than half (57%) feel overworked, and 32% say they feel exhausted, according to the Microsoft India Work Trend Index 2021.
The issue of wellbeing has become increasingly important due to high levels of burnout. To be a leader in a digital workplace, we must accept that employee experience is the digital experience.
Creating a better employee experience from attracting and retaining talent to creating listening systems, including creating a more flexible work environment, will help people thrive.
Organizations need to integrate digital empathy into all aspects of their culture. Additionally, it is important to maintain the connection between employees and their managers, as well as the company overall.
A positive outcome of the hybrid work model is the expansion of the talent pool. Increasingly, career advancement is not hampered by location.
The world of work is undergoing a paradigm shift, and organizations are investing in upskilling their employees for it. Today’s digital-first economy requires employees to have access to insights, tools, and platforms that will help them succeed.
Our current work environment is changing so rapidly that there is simply no going back to the days before the pandemic. A hybrid workplace model should provide its employees with an exceptional working environment, foster greater collaboration, and community, and showcase a flexible, but hybrid, workplace of the future.
We need to remain optimistic about the future, even as the next phase will bring challenges and opportunities.
Together, we can build a better world of work if we use what we’ve learned from overcoming a once-in-a-hundred-year challenge to chart a path forward that gives people the flexibility they need.
Author: Neomi Rao
Rajeswari Rao is an Outreach Community Specialist for Managed Services Company which focuses on the latest trends of technology, small business needs. Her speciality lies in social media marketing and digital marketing.