Since the start of the pandemic, women have been most likely to feel worried about missing friends and family (44%), anxious and stressed (37%) and generally concerned about their future (33%). There is a consistent view among women that the measures enacted to stop the spread of the pandemic have had a major impact on their own mental health.
We were reflecting on the impact of the COVID-19 restrictions on women. Two years on, we are in a better place when it comes to the pandemic. But now is the time to apply some of the lessons we have learned from that experience.
For example, work-life balance should not be a choice between a successful career and a fulfilling family life. The pandemic has reminded us all of the value and benefits of time with family. Parents should be able to feel like they can continue to have a better balance in their lives, and the government is committed to introducing measures to support this.
The impact of the (short and longer term) socio-economic effects of COVID-19 fall disproportionately on women. Women are much more likely to work in sectors which have been negatively impacted by Covid such as personal or retail services, and in addition they are also burdened with pastoral, childcare, and domestic labour. Women also experience significantly higher levels of guilt in relation to work and family life balance, compared to their male counterparts.
The Balance project aims provide high quality and appropriate resources to empower women themselves to share and validate their pandemic experiences and create a hands-on guide, made up of practical materials for resilience and learning to work better within our new digital world. Our project shifts the support burden solely from women, by empowering employers and workplace leaders to take ownership and support their staff in a meaningful way. By creating new upskilling pathways Balance ensures that women are more prepared to deal with the stresses and requirements within our modern world. Not only this but Balance supports those in leadership roles, empowering them to create a culture of support.
We promote a proactive approach, flexible working coupled with dynamic support to ensure the health and mental well-being of staff is not compromised. By affecting change at a leadership level, we aim to ensure high levels of integration and engagement with our resources. The Balance strives overcome the obstacles of pastoral needs for leaders, encouraging a healthy working-life balance for all, and preventing digital drain on staff.
For Managers and workplace leaders who now hold a responsibility for the success of a team who they no longer share an office space with daily, the is a clear need for materials to aid them in the supporting of progressive and effective working. But possibly more urgently is the pastoral management of their staff, in ensuring a reasonable work-life balance, recognising the “at home” stresses which many staff, especially women are subject to. For remote working staff, women specifically, there is a clear need to reduce the pressure on staff, by empowering them to be more “aware” of their digital imbalance, but also by upskilling those surrounding them to support them in a meaningful way.