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How to adapt HR policies for remote work female employees?

Work from home has hazy restrictions between the office and home, Work from Home (WFH) has opened new opportunities for…

By Shobha Singh , in Blog Human Resource Management , at October 25, 2020

Work from home has hazy restrictions between the office and home, Work from Home (WFH) has opened new opportunities for some women who can now take benefit of flexi-hours, it has also dropped productivity and directed to loss of employment for some women. The lack of day-care options is imposing many women to choose between going to work and babysitting their children.

The HR policies form the demanding spine of an organizational culture that disengages the modern woman, even as the organization struggles to recognize why it cannot meet gender diversity workforce goals, has difficulty with recruiting and hiring talented and skilled women, and is challenged with low female employee retention rates.

Women are often trapped between two conflicting worlds. First one – she is regarded as the talent for career success and managing work and family. Second – she is criticized for rejecting her children as full-time mothers to pursue a career. So, the capability to achieve work-life balance is a major element of happiness.

As an HR, you are confronted to find ways to make the workplace engaging for female employees by emerging an inclusive culture, implementing HR best practices, and identifying and addressing issues of importance.

There are a few things that female employees desire to have in the workplace

                 Supportive work culture – For female employees, all the appearances of positive workplace culture, motivate what they want – respect, empathy, supportive and healthy relationships. 

                 Friendly work-life balance policies – The most impact on whether women work, the capability to balance work and family responsibilities are really important. When a child has a doctor’s appointment or school holidays, employers allow women flexibility. 

                 Addressing unconscious bias in the workplace – It restricts women’s access to important projects, thus damaging their progression opportunities. It’s expressed during recruitment or performance reviews when men are steadily rated higher than women. 

                 Equal opportunities and equal pay

                 Opportunities for meaningful work

                 Recognition 

We all know work from home is the future of work in a current pandemic scenario. HR leaders want to create or adapt remote work policies that fit the new reality. 

How to adapt HR policies for remote work, especially for female employees?

Working women (moms) are bouncing from the kitchen to zoom meeting to kiddo’s online classes have tested the multi-tasking capabilities and tolerance of many mothers, the hardships of pandemic parenting.

Sum up the psychological state of many Indian moms who, without the support structure of domestic help, day-care, and friends, they can empty their hearts out to, are grinding under the weight of online schooling, household work, and office.

In the office, you can have 10 minutes at least to sit and sip coffee or tea. However, now you don’t even get that time because everyone wants you.

You often find yourself being interrupted by your kids even during work calls, and you have to find ways of keeping them preoccupied while you are working. Sometimes you feel so frustrated that you don’t feel like doing anything, just running away and receiving some fresh air to breathe.

Work from home has hazy restrictions between the office and home, Work from Home (WFH) has opened new opportunities for some women who can now take benefit of flexi-hours, it has also dropped productivity and directed to loss of employment for some women. The lack of day-care options is imposing many women to choose between going to work and babysitting their children.

Most of the females have anticipated it multiple times because of the day-to-day pressures of running the house in the absence of her cook and domestic helper for the last six months. It has been really hectic and demanding. Multitasking has become second nature; answering office emails while cooking or keeping an eye on kid’s online classes. More than physical stress, you feel mentally tired because you have to think of so many things from groceries to sanitizing to the deadline.

It wasn’t that pre-pandemic the burden of household work and childcare wasn’t for women. According to International Labor Organization data in 2018, Urban Indian women spent 312 minutes on unpaid care work every day as compared to 29 minutes for men. Through studies have shown that men did pitch in more in the early days of the lockdown. It’s not clear how permanent the shift is.

Many women have admitted to feeling overwhelmed. While men are often not socialized to help around the house, women are conditioned to do it all. These are the philosophies we have grown up with and assume to be our responsibility.

Women are more exhausted than they have ever been in their life. They find their self-frustrated, impatient, mind overflowing with an endless to-do list.

Who gets interrupted by the kids when both mom and dad are on a call or who gets the quiet corner in the house?

The best advice for working moms is to call out the sloth of other family members, teach children to participate in chores, and learn to take some shortcuts.

Given the rise in remote work, it’s almost critical to review and update HR policies. Now policies are chasing reality and the reality is not well-formed. HR leaders need to be flexible because working conditions change very often these days. Those changes create another issue.

What are your pain points?

Answers to this question will help to identify the policies that need to be clarified, replaced, updated, and created.

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