The past year has presented a number of unforeseeable challenges for both businesses and households alike.
Working parents soon found their homes turning into not only makeshift offices but also fully-fledged classrooms. While this brought parents and children closer together it has also placed increasing strain with regards to managing work-life balance and keeping personal and professional lives separate.
The pandemic has not only presented logistical challenges but has also affected our mental and physical wellbeing. With rules in place on how and where we engage with each other, parents have had to consider how to build their children’s social skills through new ways, while also trying to find time for themselves. In households where one of the parents may have lost their job, one can only imagine the difficultly of putting on a brave face and keeping it all together.
Working moms have been one of the hardest-hit groups by the pandemic, with research conducted by McKinsey among 40,000 working women in corporate America, showing that mothers have contributed more towards household needs than fathers, on top of their day jobs at work. Working mothers are also more than twice as likely to worry about their work performance being perceived negatively, due to their responsibilities of caregiving at home than other groups, which has placed compounded stress over the past year.
The overnight change to working from anywhere has led to an always-on mindset, where you can make a call any time and get a response almost instantly. For working mothers, however, this places a huge strain on trying to strike a balance.
A necessary change which has addressed some of these issues is the move to more flexible working hours. This year’s International Women’s Day theme #ChoosetoChallenge helps remind us to have the courage to speak up. While there is certainly progress in gender equality, we still have a long way to go and often having the courage to challenge may help other understand something they would have ordinarily overlooked.
It is our collective duty to challenge the status quo, and we need greater “allyship” between men and women in order to achieve this, as real change cannot happen by the will or efforts of one group alone.
By Claire Carter, Marketing Director at Lenovo MEA
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