As a woman in the workplace for over two decades, I’ve learned new lessons from the last couple of years:
- How to juggle working from home (and not letting the insurmountable pile of laundry bother me while doing so)
- To appreciate elementary school teachers trying to teach virtually
- That the internet is amazing and flexible, but doesn’t replace a dinner with friends
- That even people like me who love planning can get sideswiped by the unexpected
As I’ve grown personally over the last few years, and as I’ve talked with female friends and clients, there are common themes on workplace benefits for women. As our work lives return to normal, we’re more concerned for our own well-being in that transition. Health is more important now than ever – not just for the body, but for the mind and soul. Here are four themes that I’m hearing and that have resonated loud and clear about what women are needing in the workplace:
1) Paid Coverage for Sick Days, including Extended Illness
It sounds obvious, but bears stating. Women have been overly represented in jobs that require in-person attendance and therefore have been cut over the last couple years. When there’s no pay for being out, it pushes women to return to work before they are able to. This could mean spreading the illness and poor work quality, while they struggle to recover.
2) Space for Mental Health
This could be allowing for an occasional day off. But it also means a break within the day. We’ve all worked somewhere that it’s assumed you’ll eat lunch at your desk and not really take the time away. But that reset in the middle of your day is enormous for shedding a bit of the stress so you can come back to it fresh. (And turning off notifications for work outside of work hours without guilt!)
3) Child Care Concerns
Women are often the primary, if not sole caregivers for their children. When we have snow days, sick days, or school closures, it falls on my shoulders to find a solution and usually involves having to be home with them. We need our employers to understand the dynamic, and to have an option for paid coverage when that happens. As a matter of fact, women with childcare needs are 32% less likely to leave their job. The option to be able to work from home, even occasionally, can help ease the stress as well and be a win-win for employer and employee.
4) Educational Support Network
Maybe it’s questions about retirement. Or how to deal with the debt we took on during furlough. Or how our insurance plan isn’t meeting our needs anymore. We, as women, need to know it’s OK to ask questions and to know where we can get reliable answers. Further, many of us are handling the family finances. With the added strain of inflation, we are experiencing varying levels of financial stress. With limited access to reliable financial wellness resources, we may not be equipped to handle the financial stress. Thus, more and more employers are addressing the need for reliable financial wellness resources to help us answer our financial questions and deal with the financial stress–thus, empowering us to make a path forward.
Apprisen is here to help as a resource for workplace benefits for women. We partner with employers to be a financial wellness resource. Fostering a work culture where woman feel supported and empowered will go a long way to success for all. Because a woman who is able to connect to resources and know there is a workable plan for the future is more likely to stick with the job, and long-term stability for herself and family.