The HR Manager's Guide To Help Female Employees Achieve A Better Work-Life Balance!
Can you think of at least one woman who is a terrific performer at work and also yearns to bake chocolate chip cookies at home?
Be it any field from sports to journalism, women are not just surviving but conquering at the professional front. It is essential for them to have a balance between their career and their personal lives since a well-balanced life can increase their self-motivation and concentration.
How Can You Help Your Female Employees Better Balance Their Work and Personal Life?
A conducive environment that helps women attend to the other aspects of their lives can not only act as motivation for them to live up to the potential but can be a driving force for them to strive to go a step further, which will ultimately benefit the organisation.
Here are a few ways to help your female colleagues, and contribute to the betterment of your firm, both in terms of performance as well as making it a better workplace for a woman to make her career.
1. Offer The Choice To ‘Work From Home’
It goes without saying that the physical presence of employees makes a difference since communication is faster. Sometimes it is required in situations such as client interactions, strategic meetings with the senior management and for certain aspects of everyday work.
However, there are many times when a task can be completed from a remote location. Female employees will find this option especially useful since our culture hasn’t yet evolved to men tending to the household and children completely. Given the technological advancements and the high degree of connectivity through various forms, it is not difficult to reach employees when they are working offline.
2. Offer Flexible Working Hours
While it is important to ensure that employees work for the minimum hours and complete the tasks assigned to them, the actual timings can be made majorly flexible barring a few situations. The culture of late sitting is prevalent in Indian workplaces. This refers to employees staying back with the objective of projecting hard work to their peers and seniors without actually being very productive. Leaving on time is frowned upon, and more often than not, employees are explicitly asked to stay back.
This practice can hamper the personal life of a female employee as she might have to stay back even though she has completed her tasks for the day while her family bears the brunt of her absence. An HR manager should ensure that this is avoided. Moreover, giving her the option of choosing her work hours can lead to higher productivity.
3. Plan Schedules In Advance
Quite often, a lot of time and energy is spent on scheduling and rescheduling. The opportunity cost of this in terms of work is quite high. It also increases the frustration levels of employees.
Therefore, making weekly plans for external/internal meetings, official group activities, tasks that require physical presence etc. must be a regular activity and such plans should be implemented with minimal deviation.
If a female employee has to plan the days on which she’s working from home and the days on which she has to be physically present at the office, the team’s plan or any official activities have to be intimated to her in advance. This way, she can plan her work and personal schedule in such a way that she can do justice to both without compromising. HR must also ensure that these plans are not uncertain or do not get frequently cancelled so that the female employees do not have to change their other plans.
4. Provide Additional Facilities
Other than having crèches, companies can do a lot more to ensure a healthy work-life balance for their female employees. With the pressures of work and family, a woman’s health is bound to deteriorate.
While tending to her loved ones and striving for professional advancement, many women tend to give less attention to their health. An organisation can contribute to a female employee’s well-being by providing access to healthy food options at the workplace and also organising short work out sessions.
Healthy snacks and beverages can replace fried food in the canteen.
Every few hours, there can be an announcement over the PA system which guides employees to stretch their muscles.
These will help both male and female employees. These are also relatively easy ways to ensure that employees feel that they’re looked after, which will increase their drive to strive.
5. Cultivating a supportive atmosphere at the workplace
Sensitising the male employees in your organisation to be more understanding and accommodative of flexibility in hours and rigidity in schedules can help female employees feel that they are in a comfortable work environment.
It is not adequate if only the HR team is aware of what is going on. Male colleagues need to actively participate too. Male bosses, senior management and colleagues must be aware of the policies regarding flexible working hours and facilities. Different teams must cooperate in order to ensure that women are comfortable across all levels and areas of the organisation.
6. Build An Effective Redressal Mechanism
While it is good to strive for achieving sensitisation across the organisation, it might not always be possible since people come from different cultural backgrounds and changing perspectives of others is usually quite tough. Women might hesitate to bring attention to the issues they are facing if they feel that their superiors or colleagues may not understand or accept their situation.
A formal platform to voice their concerns, such as a committee or team or some other formal structure for this, would greatly benefit them.
Ideally, this should be independent of the department they associate with for the purpose of their work. This would ensure that they feel less apprehensive about approaching the committee in case of an issue.
Women have become an integral part of the economically productive workforce of our country in all spheres ranging from engineering to journalism. Accommodating their responsibilities outside of work will help them be better employees, which in turn will positively impact the employer. Minor tweaks in systems and procedures can go a long way in saving time and energy. Most of the changes mentioned will also help men, thus making the organisation as a whole more employee friendly.