Continued Focus on Remote Work an Enabler for the Women Workforce?

25 Oct 2022

The pandemic outbreak toppled the Indian job market and led to a steep rise in the country’s unemployment rates. The COVID-induced lockdowns and social distancing norms resulted in significant job losses, especially for the women workforce. 

In fact, the pandemic’s impact was such that it took a toll on the women workers’ physical and mental health to an extent that they started questioning their career and future prospects. However, industry experts highlight that the post-COVID scenario is witnessing progress in the wake of increasing women employment.  

WFH providing opportunities for the women workforce

More than 2 years and 3 waves later, as the situation is resuming to normalcy, the employment landscape for females is taking an upturn. COVID-19 led to the emergence of concepts such as remote and hybrid working and organizations across sectors eventually started adopting flexible work approaches to increase employment and incorporate diversity. It certainly was a golden opportunity for the women workforce to re-enter the professional space. 

Since ages, females have dealt with various hindrances while pursuing their ambitions and establishing careers. Even today, when women are on par with men in all fields and are contributing significantly to the societal progress and economic growth of India, they not just have to take into consideration their so-called domestic responsibilities, but also must fight the taboos related to working women. However, the WFH model has opened up various avenues for them and they now have the flexibility to work anytime, anywhere. 

The rising female employment in the post-pandemic times

In the post-pandemic world, female resources are prioritizing flexibility. The remote work opportunities have given them the much-needed freedom to work at their pace and convenience. This was highlighted by International Labour Organization in its recent study. The research stated that WFH helping women attain work-life balance and move ahead in their career trajectories.

Work-life balance is also the biggest concern for female employees as they look at rebuilding their careers today. This is why in the post-COVID era, flexibility is being demanded by women workforce across the globe, especially in India. However, the concept goes beyond just remote working jobs and encompasses flexi hours, schedules and work arrangements. 

For instance, reduction in work hours, working for increased number of hours but lesser days in a week, job sharing, etc., are some of the ways through which workplaces can offer flexibility to women workers. Along with incorporating these practices, fostering a collaborative culture is equally essential. 

Various reports suggest that remote working enables women to maintain their mental well-being, which is another major reason why they prefer WFH jobs. They experience low levels of microaggressions and higher levels of psychological safety. As per KPMG, many female employees in 2022 are preferring remote working and this is one of the major reasons for them to stick with an organization. 

However, the rules and policies should be well-defined, communication with reference to the work allocation should be clear and technical arrangements for the WFH setup should be taken care of. If organizations fail to do so, the work-hour boundaries will remain blurred , affecting the overall work-life balance. 

The bottom line

Women employment scenario is improving in the post-COVID era. Remote working and flexible hours are the primary reasons that are helping females resume their careers. These practices give females a chance to focus on their familial responsibilities whilst building their careers. The flexibility and convenience offered by remote work opportunities push them to explore new avenues and enhance their professional trajectories. Understanding this requirement, today organizations are ensuring that women’s demands are met. This will not only play a role in filling the talent-skill gaps, but will also increase female participation in workplaces. 

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