The pandemic has led everyone to make drastic changes in their lives but it has taken a heavy toll on working women. Nearly 82% of women surveyed said their lives have been negatively disrupted by the pandemic. These findings are a part of the survey done by Deloitte Global of nearly 400 working women around the globe to ascertain the pandemic's impact on their work/life balance and well-being.
"Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, we've all had to adapt our daily lives. However, women are being impacted in profound ways, facing tremendous challenges and commonly taking on expanded duties at home while continuing to juggle their careers," says Emma Codd, Deloitte Global Inclusion Leader.
The survey shows women have more responsibility for household chores (65%), and a third said their workloads have increased due to the pandemic. As a result of the increased work pressure for home and work, women said it impacted their physical well-being (40%), made it difficult to balance work and home commitments (40%) and also impacted their mental health causing stress and burnout (39%).
It was particularly challenging for women who have caring responsibilities of older parents or children. Women with children said there is an increase in childcare responsibilities (58%) and home-schooling/education responsibilities (53%).
Also, many women feel this will impact their career progression in the short and long terms. Almost 60% women are skeptical about taking promotion or changing jobs as they feel it will also considerably increase their workload. For example, 23% of respondents who feel they need to always be "on" for work fear they will end up having to choose between their personal responsibilities and their careers, and 10% of that same group think they may need to consider a career break or leave the workforce entirely.
The report suggests organisations to introduce initiatives to support the women in their workforce. They could make flexible working arrangements the norm, provide networking and mentoring opportunities, address unconscious bias in succession and promotion planning, and making diversity, respect, and inclusion non-negotiable values.
"As organisations adapt to support women through the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond, our research demonstrates there's no one-size-fits-all approach," adds Michele Parmelee, Deloitte Global Deputy CEO and Chief People and Purpose Officer. "This next year will prove critical in our efforts to achieve gender diversity in the workplace. Businesses must prioritise flexibility, equity, and inclusion to support women in achieving their career ambitions."
"With no end to the pandemic currently in sight, organisations must meet the call to support the women in their workforces and ensure they can thrive both personally and professionally-or our economy and society could face long-standing repercussions," suggests Codd.