Over the last few years we have witnessed a surprisingly encouraging step towards a more equitable future. Thanks to the pandemic, businesses have had to change their mindset, and find a new perspective on employees’ circumstances outside of the office.
Research from McKinsey found that mothers were more than three times as likely (compared to fathers) to meet the majority of the demands for housework and caregiving during the pandemic, while often being required to juggle both homeschooling and their own careers.
Despite the celebrated response to the pandemic by female leaders, women still trail men when it comes to securing decision-making, C-suite positions. It is therefore fitting that this year’s International Women’s Day theme is based around equity. We have an opportunity to really embrace what we have learned (and are still learning) from remote and hybrid working. This means recognising each person has different circumstances, and therefore require exact resources and opportunities to meet them where they are, while also helping them to reach outcomes equal to their peers.
As the world embraces a permanent hybrid working model, it is important that employers consider supporting the same level of flexibility they allowed during the fully remote working stage, such as enabling time for school runs, religious commitments, family caregiving and volunteering projects.
Supporting and connecting employees
Establishing equity is a long-term commitment and leaders must ensure that they provide the right resources to support and connect their employees on this journey. In a hybrid environment, video can make a profound impact here. A July 2022 study commissioned by Brightcove reported that 76 per cent of non-management professionals feel more connected with leadership through video communications.
Video is a great leveler too, no matter where you are geographically, what level you are or what device you are watching on — you’re connected in the same way, giving everyone equal footing. It provides a simple platform to lead conversations around diversity and inclusion, and to celebrate achievements.
Innovating from equality to equity
It’s never been more important to ensure that businesses have the right resources to support the transition towards a more equal, accessible and inclusive world. Achieving equity takes ongoing work, and it must be embraced at every stage of the employee journey and championed by every level of the business.
In addition to sharing our stories of empowerment and demonstrating our dedication to supporting women in the workplace, businesses must strive for more than just gender equality.
It is fundamental that we find equity-based solutions that take into account employees’ diverse experiences and backgrounds – and organisations must adjust services and policies accordingly.