According to McKinsey's report, 1 in 4 women is considering downshifting her career or exiting the workforce, as a result of the pandemic.
Companies are stepping up—but many aren’t addressing the likely underlying causes of stress and burnout.
The following factors predict the likelihood of this:
- Lack of flexibility at work
- Feeling like they need to be “always on”
- Housework and caregiving burdens due to COVID-19
Worry that their performance is being negatively judged because of caregiving responsibilities during the pandemic
- Difficulty sharing with their teammates or managers the challenges they are facing
- Feeling blindsided by decisions that affect their day-to-day work
Feeling unable to bring their whole self to work
Although these factors hurt all employees, some groups experience certain challenges at higher rates. For example, mothers are more likely than fathers to worry that their performance is being negatively judged due to their caregiving responsibilities.
Women in senior leadership roles are more likely than men at the same level to feel as though they are “always on.”
And black women are more likely than women and men overall to feel like they can’t bring their whole selves to work.
Here is what managers can do about it:
Ask and listen
Don't assume that you fully understand your employees' situation. It is very circumstantial right now and if you feel fine, it doesn't mean they do too. The best approach is to ask and really listen when they tell you.
With everyone (or some) isolated at home, it requires more intentionality in communication with your employees. Yes, it is another thing on your plate to think about, I get, but it's important now when "accidental" ways of information transfer are missing. Also, it can be a gift, because with intentional communication you can be much more... well intentional.
Check on your empathy and compassion
When you ask and listen, you may hear something that will create some complications for your already full to-do list. Or you may feel judgment about what you hear. Understand that everyone's circumstances are different and assume that everyone is trying to do their best. Empathy is what your employees need from you right now.
Keep your cup full
It's no longer sufficient for leaders to focus on maintaining productivity and delivering business results. You need to coach and support people as well. Leaders are also people and have their own dose of pressure and stress. Prioritize self-care so that you have something to give to your employees when needed.
Want to strategize? Reach out to me. I'd be happy to.
Sveta Parilova is a career and leadership coach who partners up with individuals and organizations to support high performers and emerging leaders. She helps them get rekindled and renewed about their career so that they feel less stressed and more impactful at work and joyful at home. Click here to schedule a Complimentary Discovery Session and learn more!
Thrive Network International, LLC