5 Ways to Support Executive Working Moms

  1. Women's wellbeing tumbled as their levels of stress and worry increased

  2. The workforce has lost over 2 million women since the pandemic began

  3. Leaders can set the tone for working moms with these 5 points

The #pandemic shifted everything. And while the future of the traditional 9-to-6 workplace schedule is ambiguous, there are both positives and negatives regarding the new approach to getting work done. One of those negatives is that the workforce is currently down 500,000 more women than men compared with before the pandemic. After talking to few female executives I found that women's wellbeing slipped further than men's as their levels of stress climbed. "This year has been a roller coaster blur of tiredness, self-doubt, and loss of identity," one executive working mom said. "No matter what I did, I couldn't get ahead. I am behind on emails, behind on work tasks, behind on dishes and the list goes on. I still find it hard to grasp that a whole year has gone by. At times I am sad I did not appreciate it enough, and sometimes I am thankful it is over."

Those feelings explain the reasoning behind the exit of so many women from the workforce: They exit because they could not keep carrying what felt like the weight of the world on their shoulders. These emotional obstacles affected women in the best of their working lives the hardest: middle- to high-income females under the age of 50. And I found that, on average over the past year, more working women than men have suffered a great deal of distraction in their working lives from the pandemic. "It's been hard. Harder than hard," as one female executive put it.

The reduction of so many women in the workforce is depressing as it comes on the edge of a revolution era for women in leadership positions. Before the pandemic, the percentage of women in senior corporate leadership positions set the global record, including a five-percentage-point increase in holding senior vice president roles and a record-breaking number of Fortune 500 companies with a female CEO. As we speak, 119 females serve in the U.S. House of Representatives, another 24 in the Senate, and one is vice president.

Yet during Covid19, women leaders were making big improvements: a Zenger-Folkman study reported in the Harvard Business Review found that women were rated as better leaders by their colleagues than male leaders, and outscored men on 13 out of 19 leadership competencies. In the Meantime, the world was praising the way leaders like Jacinda Ardern, New Zealand’s Prime Minister and Mette Frederiksen, the Prime Minister of Denmark, steered their nations all the way through a crisis unlike any faced before.

"Being able to focus on work 100% filled a big part of what I needed to be satisfied as a person," as one woman put it. "I will never fail to remember how thrilled I was when I got back from parental leave and be my best self at work again. It fulfilled an identity of being the employee that I wanted to be, setting targets, and feeling like the only barrier to achieving them was myself." Work gives women a vital part of their personality and data suggests it has been a source of comfort during the pandemic. Work enables women (and men) to really capitalize on their strengths and make a long-lasting difference. Just envision the substantial returns we could create as leaders by retaining our executive working moms through the end of the pandemic. We will retain more prime candidates for leadership in the management channel. We will protect valuable institutional knowledge and experience. And, of course, we can expect better financial and productivity results for our companies, our economy, and our society.

Leaders can set an atmosphere of agility and flexibility that empowers women to thrive. Many leaders set that tone in an exceptional way when the pandemic started. engage and perform against strong headwinds and under great stress. Those are powers; however, they can be maximized when #leaders:

1. Record the employee experience of executive working moms and parents: Ask them what they need to be successful and stay in the job. Add it to your risk modification strategy in the same way you do finance -- after all, human capital is your most valuable asset.

2. Hire managers who are naturally caring. Compassionate managers help employees accomplish performance goals and develop their potential -- while living their best lives -- through strengths and engagement. 3. Support managers make the right changes in expectations and responsibilities. These alterations will work to reduce inefficient worry and stress while creating channels for greater wellbeing.

4. Discuss with your leadership team about leading into the future with hybrid timetables.

Hybrid schedules should be tailored to clients, the market and to employees' needs. That is how we can decrease stress and fatigue so that women don't have to worry about being able to take care of things at work and back home.

5. Open voluntary office space for those who are ready to return and/or need to be in the office to do their best work. This will boost performance and the social relationships that are so important for human happiness.

Now is the time to consider how your workforce will work -- some remote, some in the office or both. Many workers need to be in an office to be their finest, and others need "give" on when they work their hours. It is time to use flexibility and adaptability in scheduling. Meeting your customers' needs is importance, but so is making schedules that work for your employees' productivity, potential, happiness, and life. Think about how you can support your employees so they can accomplish great outcomes for them and for you.

When you make work better for women (and men) you make things better for everybody -- men, children, your company, our economy, and the world.

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