Hybrid working - Friend or foe to Women in the Workplace?

Soundhariya Viswanathan / Reading Time: 4 mins

The world has witnessed a lot of changes in the way we work, the pandemic has also played its part in it. Companies experimented with WFH/remote work and then as things started getting better, the concept of hybrid work came up. It has been one of the most significant changes to work arrangements where employees have the flexibility to work from home or an office at their convenience. While this shift has come with its set of challenges, it has also provided several benefits, especially for women in the workforce.

As we celebrated International Women's Day 2023 with the theme, "Innovation and technology for gender equality," we reflect on the benefits of hybrid work arrangements for women in organizations. To gain insight into this, we spoke to Supriya P (Chargebee), Shilpi Arora (inFeedo), and Poornima TM (Penthusiasts).

Here are some key takeaways from the conversation:

The Adaptive Workplace Model at Chargebee helped employees have a better work-life balance owing to

  • Reduced commute time
  • Reduced spending on commute

Women have been able to

  • Upskill themselves
  • Pursue personal interests
  • Spend time with family
  • Take care of their mental health.
  • Allowing women to balance their work and personal life has resulted in more engaged and productive employees

Well, these are just some of the important points, read on to understand this further.

Striking a balance

The shift to hybrid work arrangements has been an experiment for many companies, trying to find a balance between work and personal life. Although challenges remain, the benefits of hybrid work arrangements have been significant, providing employees, especially women, with the flexibility to manage their schedules better. As we continue to innovate and leverage technology for gender equality, it is essential to recognize and address the challenges women face in the workforce to create a more equitable and inclusive work environment.

In the hybrid work model, companies have seen an enhancement in collaboration and global exposure due to the ability to connect with people from different cultures and regions. However, the lack of personal bonds and spontaneous idea-sharing that is possible in a traditional setup is a struggle. Companies are putting in efforts to find ways to solve this issue. Working from co-working spaces has also helped in collaboration as employees get to be around people from different industries and scales of companies. When it comes to women, the remote work model might have made them feel stuck in a loop wherein they had to give equal time to work for and family. However, the pandemic has given women the opportunity to upskill themselves and even return to work after a sabbatical or maternity break. The hybrid work model has made it easier for women to contribute to their daily tasks and develop their professional careers.

How to navigate the hybrid work arrangement?

The world has undergone a significant shift in the way we work. The pandemic has forced many organizations to adopt remote work, and now, we are seeing a trend toward hybrid work arrangements. While this shift has provided greater flexibility, it has also presented unique challenges, especially for women who are balancing both personal and professional lives. So how can women navigate this new change? Poornima shared the below points she follows.

  1. Plan your day: As we transition to hybrid work, it is important to plan our days and working hours. This helps us stay organized and achieve a better work-life balance. For example, if you are a working mother, planning your day to start and end at a specific time can help you juggle both work and domestic responsibilities. By planning, you can prioritize your tasks and ensure that you are productive during your working hours.
  2. Have a schedule and stick to it: Having a schedule can help you stay on track. When working from home, getting distracted and losing focus can happen easily. By setting a schedule for yourself, you can ensure that you are using your time effectively.
  3. Ask for help: Whether it is at home or at work, getting help can make a huge difference in achieving a good work-life balance. At work, if you are struggling with a task or project, ask a colleague for help. At home, if you need assistance with childcare or household chores, ask your partner or a domestic helper. By getting help when you need it, you can reduce stress and focus on your priorities.

So is hybrid Work a friend or a foe?

Hybrid work is a friend for the following reasons:

  • Provides greater flexibility, which is especially beneficial for women who are juggling both personal and professional responsibilities.

    • The environment and workplace culture play a significant role in the success of hybrid work.
    • Employers must be empathetic and supportive, especially toward working mothers.
  • Hybrid work can become a foe if it is by-mandate since it becomes compulsory for employees to work in the office for a certain number of days per week. This can be challenging for women, especially those who have childcare responsibilities.
  • Hybrid at-choice allows employees to decide when they want to work from home or the office. This provides greater flexibility and control over their work-life balance.

    • It also helps people who have health issues, menstrual leaves are an example, and so great for those who need to take breaks for personal reasons.
    • Hybrid at-choice gives a significant boost to productivity and reduces the stress associated with a rigid work schedule.

Hybrid work can be a friend or a foe, depending on the workplace culture and environment. However, hybrid at-choice is the best friend for women, providing greater flexibility and control over their work-life balance. Ultimately, it is up to the individual to determine what works best for them and to give themselves credit for the hard work they do, irrespective of whether they work from the home, office, or both.

Category: Hybrid work