As many companies have shifted to a hybrid work model due to the pandemic, this presents unique challenges for women who may be balancing caregiving responsibilities and managing work-life balance.
These challenges make women leave their companies more than ever; they are doing it at the highest rate in years, based on the Women in The Workplace 2022 report.
The report also states that working remotely is especially important to women. Only 1 in 10 women want to work primarily on-site, and many women point to remote and hybrid work options as one of their top reasons for joining or staying with an organization. And the reasons are flexibility and because they experience fewer microaggressions and higher levels of psychological safety. Still, the concern is that remote employees feel less connected to their teams and get fewer opportunities for recognition and advancement.
4 tips that can help you navigate the hybrid workplace:
Speak up to gain visibility
Use calls and meetings to express your thoughts. Working from home doesn’t mean you are less involved or have fewer opportunities to decide. Being intentional about your visibility is more critical in a hybrid setting. Showcase your successes, ask for support from your managers, and speak up when needed. Your team will appreciate your ideas, questions and concerns.
Many women struggle to set boundaries at work because they don’t want to be perceived as too focused on their family and not ready for a promotion. The other side of the coin is that if they are working 24/7 and showing up as stressed and overwhelmed, their team will feel the same way. They will either try to work 24/7 too or feel left out of they can’t do it. Help yourself and your team establish a work-life balance by setting boundaries that will help you perform better in a more sustainable way in the long term. Create boundaries like not scheduling meetings after 5, or not answering emails outside working hours unless it is exceptionally urgent. Communicate these boundaries to your team and peers and respect them. It is OK to say NO, even if you don’t have kids or have nothing personal planned after 5pm. It is your personal time, and you need to recharge for the next day.
Use technology to stay connected
One of the worst nightmares of office work has been attending numerous daily meetings; unfortunately, this has worsened in hybrid workplaces. List the meetings you had last week, and analyze if it would make sense to reduce/eliminate some of them. Use emails, slack, task trackers or videos to communicate ideas and progress to avoid long project status sessions.
Propose to designate specific timeframes or days for meetings so you and your team can have more focus time. Reduce meeting time by setting clear agenda and coaching team members in being concise and to the point when communicating updates and blockers.
Build a supportive network
Discuss your struggles with coworkers, colleagues, or with your coach. If your company organizes ERG meetings, they are a great place to share your feelings. If you are new in the company, attending these events is a great way to understand the company culture and identify whether your manager is pushing you or yourself. You will realize you are not the only one and learn practical tools from others. if your company is not offering these events, join a group coaching for women.
Women leaders are demanding more from their companies, especially Latinas, Black women, LGTBQ+ and women with disabilities. They are as likely as men at their level to want to be promoted and aspire to senior-level roles, but they encounter more challenges. Companies that can reduce these challenges and support women more intentionally will attract and retain more women leaders.