Manage post-pandemic workplace: 5 ways to bring women back to the workspace

Most men recovered from their job losses but women were relatively less fortunate as they have still not recovered from the extremities brought by the pandemic. Therefore, in this article, we list five ways to bring women back to the workplace.

COVID-19 pandemic has been extremely hard on women, causing the steepest fall in women employment and leaving them in a state of unemployment for a long time. According to the data procured from the Department of Labour, more than 700,000 jobs have been closed due to the novel coronavirus in India. As per the reports from the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, around 60 percent of the job loss was experienced by women.

Most men recovered from their job losses but women were relatively less fortunate as they have still not recovered from the extremities brought by the pandemic. The urban female unemployment rate stood at 21.9 percent compared to 11.7 percent for urban males. In order to reduce the gender disparity associated with employment, there is a dire need to bring women to workplaces again and this adoption of a new framework and policies is a must. Therefore, in this article, we list some of the ways to get women back to the workspace.

1. Consider the period of absence as pandemic leave

Companies and employers can start by offering a pandemic leave of absence for a 12 to 18 months period. The idea is to cover the benefits, though it could be unpaid. At the end of the leave, companies need to guarantee employment at the same level and at the same salary, if not necessarily the same job.

This will facilitate both employers and employees. Employers will not need to look for new people to meet their job requirements and employees will find their way back to the same place. The experience of the workers will eventually benefit the company and the level of performance will be higher. This will in turn bring a sense of trust and loyalty, and employees will serve the company for a great deal of time.

2. Don’t mind the pandemic gap year

While recruiting a woman, employers need to be less concerned about the gap year. Many women lost their jobs and many have stopped working due to various reasons during the pandemic. This particular ground should not become the basis of discrimination between men and women or women with and without a gap year.

Organisations should consider eligibility as a criterion for selection instead of counting gap years. Women should be motivated and encouraged to find themselves a source of employment without any differentiation.

3. Make ‘return to work’ a new normal

Women wanting to join a firm after a break should be able to find companies that are looking for such employees. A move to accept and normalise breaks, says a lot about an organisation in terms of being open to different types of employees. It should be admissible to include people at all stages of their careers.

Different sets of people bring different levels of productivity, experience, cognition and perception. A workplace should consist of workers from diverse backgrounds. Career breaks of employees can also turn useful for the organisations. It’s really necessary to bring returnship programs for women, especially after the pandemic. Policies and practices need to be adopted for an easy entry of women when they rejoin work after missing years.

4. Trainings and skill development programs

Training is necessary for both managers and employees to evolve as per the new standards of workplaces. Line managers need to receive training so they aren’t ruling out women looking for a return. Women should undergo skill up-gradation programs to remain prepared for new job requirements. If we expect women to be skilled and experienced while recruiting, we must do the same after recruitment.

Structuring proper training modules will have a long-term benefit for organisations and people looking for an enriching experience during the skill up-gradation program. We can make a huge difference by equipping women with the necessary set of skills making them eligible for various jobs.

5. Fair treatment 

Women should be fairly treated after being hired for the job. It is required to create a workspace that is unbiased and intolerant of any sort of discrimination. A certain amount of performance-based transparency in the system should be maintained to analyse the timely growth of not only women but of every employee. The behaviour of favouritism and prejudices needs to be avoided. Women should be given chances to participate in projects irrespective of their family and career breaks.

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