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Balancing work with parenting duties can be a struggle. To understand more about the challenges working mothers face, and how employers can best support them, we asked over 150+ working mothers with children about their preferences.
Given the novel coronavirus pandemic, many working mothers are effectively working four jobs: their corporate job, caring for their children, homeschooling and completing housework. Our research finds that prior to COVID, just 5% of corporate mothers were the primary caregiver to their children - that number now jumps to 62%!
Here’s what employers can do to help keep and develop women in the workforce:
Flexibility is the new currency.
Parenting can be unpredictable and often trying on working mothers, who tend to bear the greatest burden when schools are closed and when faced with illness. In our survey, 46% of working mothers asserted that greater flexibility would offer the support needed to balance work and family. Flexible working is one way that employers can help alleviate the pressure and uncertainty that comes with being a primary caregiver. Flex-time - such as four-day work weeks or alternative hours - allows working mothers to tend to their children and at-home activities without impacting productivity at work.
Adjust expectations to help balance work-family.
It’s important for employers to ask, “Are working mothers able to fit their work responsibilities around other demands?” 26% of corporate mothers want expectations adjusted by employers, given current conditions. These adjustments included extended project deadlines, less meetings and less work hours. Again, this allows more freedom for working mothers to balance work responsibilities with seeing more of their children, which ultimately will make them more fulfilled in and out of the office.
Lead with empathy.
49% of working mothers cited their primary concern to be the care of their child’s needs. This concern is followed by work/home demands (48%) and loss of income (19%). With these concerns weighing on everyone’s mind, employers can make a concerted effort to communicate regularly and transparently about their policies and plans of action.
Aneuvia is proud to work with C-suite and Board members of corporations to evaluate and refine diversity and inclusion programs and policies that not only strengthen workforce engagement, but also deliver financial results.
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View full results from Impact of COVID-19 on Corporate Mothers.
As an activist investment firm, Aneuvia is focused on delivering better returns for our investors through diversity and inclusion strategies. In times of crisis, we look for opportunities to provide actionable data that can serve as a catalyst for decision makers, this includes insights into how policies are impacting different people in different ways.
As the COVID-19 pandemic hit the world in March, Aneuvia recognized early on that there was an emerging high-impact corporate challenge: Working professional women are encountering disproportionate consequences. With the closure of schools, daycares and social distancing, many working professional mothers have the added responsibilities of not only work full time, but also to care for their household. This is leading them to have four jobs: work, nanny/teacher, cook, housekeeper.
We asked 150 corporate mothers about the impact of COVID on their work and life.
To provide compelling data that drives action across the C-Suite and Boards of corporations globally, the “Impact of COVID-19 on Corporate Mothers Survey” was conducted the week of March 23rd 2020. Through a set of 10 questions, Aneuvia captures a quantitative and qualitative view into the impact of COVID on corporate mothers.
62% of corporate mothers are now the primary childcare provider for their children. This is up from 5% pre-COVID. And only 9% of partners are sharing this responsibility.
81% of the corporate mothers previously working in an office, are now working at home. While this reflects the great shift in working conditions, this does not seem to be driving a decrease in ability to balance work/family responsibilities.
49% of corporate mothers are most concerned about meeting the needs of their children, as well as 48% with the work/home demands.
18% of corporate mothers believe that they can effectively balance work and family during this time, down from 77% pre-COVID.
44% of corporate woman believe that increased flexibility is the “best support” their corporation can offer, along with 26% looking for adjusted expectations.