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Changing Work Dynamics for Women in a Post-Covid World

Approximately 2.5 million women left the U.S. labor force in the past year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Approximately 2.5 million women left the U.S. labor force in the past year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This in part was caused by childcare and home-schooling issues.

As we head toward brighter days and return to offices everywhere, business leaders are beginning to address how they can bring back more women to the workplace while adjusting the work dynamics, Doug Meyer-Cuno (www.dougmeyer-cuno.com), ForbesBooks author of The Recipe For Empowered Leadership: 25 Ingredients For Creating Value & Empowering Others said.

“If we as CEOS and entrepreneurs want to capture the best talent and be forward thinkers, then we have to get ahead of the curve,” Meyer-Cuno says. “One important way of doing that is through the inclusivity of women, and what that means in the changing work dynamics of the post-COVID world.”

Meyer-Cuno said companies need to recognize its vital for businesses growth to meet some women where they currently are – at home.

Hr offers three ways business leaders can adapt and better support women who return to work:

  • Be proactive and flexible with a remote/office model. Meyer-Cuno notes 30 years ago, large corporations built daycare centers inside their facilities and many female employees stayed. Now, he said, companies are rethinking the office environment as a hybrid of remote and in-office work.

“There has been much talk of the government expanding the social safety net for childcare and guaranteed paid leave,” Meyer-Cuno said. “But rather than rely on the government to dictate how we respond, the most nimble and proactive companies will respond first. Whether the model is two, three or five days a week for remote workers, companies must create the environments that best help them attract and retain the best talent while maintaining an optimum work culture.”

  • Reexamine jobs and policies to improve work/life balance. Meyer-Cuno said weathering the COVID experience should give employers extra appreciation for their most valued employees, and they should show that appreciation by how they address remote work.

“Company leaders should respect those workers’ needs to work remotely, at least part-time, or full-time when necessary, for family reasons,” he says. “That means giving them more manageable workloads, perhaps changing their job or rewriting their job description, increased flexibility on work hours, and well-being policies so that all remote workers can maintain productivity without burning out.”

  • Align teams with the right people and stay connected with them. Some workers who were furloughed will return to their former jobs; others’ jobs may have changed slightly or dramatically. Meyer-Cuno said company leaders must explore their employees’ capabilities in adjusted or all-new roles and monitor team cohesion while weighing everyone’s comfort level.

“Communication is ever-important as valued workers return and adjust,” he said. “Focus on their strengths and respect that they’re in a phase of transition. You don’t want them to leave again. This requires a consistent checking in by leadership and knowing what they need in order to succeed.”

“The social environment has changed under COVID,” Meyer-Cuno said. “We need to be nimble enough as leaders to keep our businesses attractive to the best and the brightest, the new hires and returnees, while realizing some people have to work from home.”

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