How Companies Can Support Women Reentering the Workforce
It started slowly: First came the spring sports registration emails, followed by a save-the-date for the annual PTO fundraiser and, now, a flood of kids’ birthday party invitations. As pandemic-related restrictions have loosened, I’m finding that parents are making up for lost time. It’s as if all of the sudden, someone hit a switch and everyone decided it’s time to get back on the hamster wheel. Noticeably, the daily announcements from companies sharing with the world the date their employees are returning to the office have seemed to stop—not because workers have returned to the office, but because it’s no longer news.
To entice employees back into the office, many companies are turning their spaces into experience-driven, collaborative work environments. Salesforce, for example, started experimenting by adding booths, communal tables and focus pods to help foster innovation and connection among workers. Duolingo is funding employee clubs, including activities such as skiing and wine tasting, NPR reported. Perks that would have once been noteworthy now seem catered to a population of people who went into their homes two years ago.
To many, the pandemic might be nearing an end, but the economic crisis is far from over for many women. There are more than 1 million fewer women in the labor force today than there were only two years ago, the National Women’s Law Center said. Because it was women who often left their jobs for caregiving duties during the pandemic, many could be reentering the workforce at lower wages, thus widening the wage gap.
It’s vital to the economy that organizations take action to encourage and support women coming back into the workforce. In doing so, companies also can benefit by not only having a more diverse leadership team but also a more diverse workforce. As the CEO of a company that provides flexible workspace solutions, there are three ways businesses can better support women looking to reenter the workforce:
- Offer flexibility, and encourage a purpose-driven day.
- Provide amenities that go beyond beer on tap and pingpong tables.
- Recognize the work women are doing.