The Future of Flexibility
It’s happening: We’re finally beginning to transition out of the pandemic-imposed way of life! Amidst all the excitement, many of us are wondering how we will recalibrate our ways of working. And, it’s a question that looms even larger for organizations looking to truly foster female talent. Research shows that women are feeling more pressure at work than men, and one in four women are considering leaving the workforce or downshifting their careers. Now is the time to create a framework for post-pandemic workplaces that work for women.
REENTRY SURVIVAL KIT:
1. Consider predictable flexibility: Flexibility is a term we tend to associate with women. By adding the word “predictability” to the term flexibility, we can help destigmatize it. As Eve Rodsky says, this creates and connotes a system — a culture of integrating work and life, as opposed to a one-off benefit to certain employees. Predictability flexibility means a culture of boundaries and psychological safety to be “off the clock.”
2. Enhance policies: Try creating two days of no internal zoom meetings and a hard five o’clock stop. If there’s an emergency, it can of course be handled. However, by implementing these standard practices, employees are able to make predictable room for activities and passions outside work, regardless of family structure.
3. Remember to differentiate: Work from home ≠ flexible work and free time ≠ availability. Choosing where you work is not the same thing as flexibility over how you work and when you work. If you want to look at true flexibility you can’t just look at where, you have to look at the when and the how.
4. Offer support training: Leaders and managers are vital in ensuring a smooth return to the workplace. To make sure they are equipped with the tools to support their teams, why not make “reentry boot camps” mandatory? Focus on topics such as navigating uncertainty, building resilience, and leading hybrid teams.
5. Keep sharing: As predictable flexibility becomes a welcome reality for some employees, let’s continue to share which companies are embracing it, and doing it well.
ACTION ITEMS FROM OUR COMMUNITY:
On building confidence: “We need to stop making imposter syndrome our problem. It’s not on us to look inward and figure out why we don’t belong. It’s other people’s responsibility to put more women, Black women, and LatinX women in the room.” — Ali Kriegsman, Co-Founder COO, Bulletin, Author, How to Build a Goddamn Empire | Watch the full discussion
On cultivating mind-body connection: “There’s a mind-gut connection. The gut is actually the second brain. You can manipulate your mental health through what you feed your gut. If you love your gut, it loves you back.” —Julie Smolyansky, President & CEO, Lifeway Foods | Watch the full discussion
On embracing vulnerability: “Remember to share the burden. When we’re not feeling like ourselves, don’t be afraid to open up. Lean into each other. Don’t suffer alone.” —Dr. Jessica Clemons, MD, Founder, Ask Dr. Jess, Psychiatrist, Tuskegee Alumna | Watch the full discussion