The global spread of the coronavirus and the consequent lockdown has led to a large number of organisations to take a work-from-home (WFH) approach. As it is proving to be more productive and feasible, several tech companies including Facebook and Google have already extended the WFH period to their employees or are leaning towards hiring remote workers on full-time payroll.
Even though it’s been over a year since the first COVID-19 case was reported, it is now obvious that the pandemic’s impact on the future of work is here to stay.
So what does this mean to women in the workforce? How does it impact them? Let’s take a look at some of these aspects
The work-life balance
Despite the world almost coming to a standstill, women are still motivated to pursue multiple opportunities at the same time. As per a report by online career platform JobsForHer, work-from-home jobs posted on its platform saw 30% rise in March 2020 as compared to the same month last year.
Infact, the provision for work-from-home has created an added opportunity for women who had quit the workforce owing to household responsibilities. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic and the isolation related stress, many women entrepreneurs found it relieving, flexible and easier to maintain a work-life balance.
At the same time, there are many women out there who are looking to start or restart their careers in recent times. The WFH option only comes as a blessing for those women who had to leave their jobs owing to prior familial commitments.
Diversity and inclusion
Remote working has gone from being a stop-gap arrangement in the pandemic to a work-style revolution. The pandemic is accelerating the workplace for inclusion and gender equity in the future of work. In 2021, the organisations will tend to experiment and discover the efficacy and pitfalls of the newly evolved work culture.
The gender equality and leadership in response to the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic depends on various factors - how women can adapt to the ‘new normal’, and addressing the overall implications of the pandemic.
In fact, the ability to work remotely and flexibly, and a heightened awareness of the need for empathy and inclusive leadership allow for more diversity in the workforce.
Every board meeting now has an employee bringing not just their work skills but also their personal environment to the forefront. It is literally a peek into the homes and personal lives of colleagues.
Today everyone seems to be a gig worker with their work timings not restricted to 9 to 5 anymore. People care less now about who is behind the screen getting the job done, and what time of the day they are getting it done. These factors pave the way for more women, more inter-city employees, and employees with more diverse backgrounds.
The new normal means that certain skills are and will be highly sought in the post COVID-19 world, given that many of our usual ways of living have changed. According to LinkedIn’s Workforce Confidence Index survey, nearly 64% corporate respondents are planning to focus on learning new skills with a focus on technology courses like Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Data Science and Analytics, Data Engineering gaining traction.
With the dynamics of the changing world, it is the perfect time for women to reskill themselves and make the most of the work from home opportunity. If COVID-19 has thrown your job, company or career for a toss, being on the forefront of the knowledge curve is one of the best ways to make use of the situation - not just in terms of technical skills but also soft skills.
In the information age, it is important to find the right avenue that is aligned with your overall career goals and the course of the industry. Whether it is through distance learning courses, online courses, or certificate courses in a specific skill area, be sure to embrace the situation with confidence.
(Edited by Anju Narayanan)