The Upside To Covid-19?
The coronavirus pandemic is terrible for a host of reasons: the threat to our health, the loss of life, the lack of contact, entire industries collapsing, companies going bust, people being laid off…
On the plus side, it is also making one thing abundantly clear that a number of “rules” that governed the workforce pre-Covid-19, were senseless:
- the “Thou Shalt Not Work From Home” rule…
- the “Thou Shalt Not Have Flexible Hours” rule…
- the “Thou Shalt Definitely Travel To All Corners Of The World For In-Person Meetings” rule…
These rules made life difficult for many people – often women – who were unable to work inside the confines of those strict minimum-nine-to-five-bum-at-desk expectations.
Often, they prevented careers from succeeding altogether.
Not because the people who couldn’t adhere to them lacked ambition, or commitment, or the will to work hard. But simply because society still expects women to do the vast majority of the work at home, including childcare.
This meant that these women were caught between a rock and a hard place. Their managers expected them to be in the office (or on the road) at the same hours as society, their families and themselves (internalized sexism is real, y’all), expected them to be at home.
You cannot be in two places at the same time.
Just like working full-time isn’t always possible when you have heavy demands at home.
The lack of flexibility that many women have encountered from their employers, has meant they either drop out of the workforce altogether or they move to the mummy track jobs, with a very different career perspective. I repeat: this happens not for lack of ambition or achievement on these women’s parts, but simply because these archaic face-time requirements don’t allow them to meet all the demands on them.
What a joke AND what a relief that the pandemic showed clearly that what was once deemed impossible (WFH, flexible hours) turned out to be possible after all!
Sure, when the virus hit and people were asked to WFH in large swathes, there were a few hiccups along the way.
We collectively found out the importance of checking if our cameras were on or off, and the related importance of actually being clothed for meetings.
Some of us were called upon to improve our communication skills so we could also lead our people at a distance.
And, agreed, there still are occasions where physically meeting is better than using only a video-connection.
Overall, though, can we agree that working from home is – by and large – successful and NOT the end to corporate success that our managers once feared?
Dare I even suggest to focus on the upsides of working from home and flexible working hours?
The time gains from the kitchen-to-office-space being your only commute and limiting meetings to the absolute necessary?
The increased brainspace from not wasting time on interruptions?
And can we then agree that going forward we will continue to embrace WFH and flexibility and thus unleash the tremendous potential of our female workforce that was once squashed due to these senseless rules?
It would be great if we can have at least one positive outcome as a result this pandemic!
Book a call with my team for a free coaching session and let’s see what we can do for you!