The Pandemic Led Many Women To Rethink Work. Here’s What They Want Most From Employers

No one had it easy during the pandemic, but the data shows that women may have had a harder time than men. At the end of 2020, women held 5.4 million fewer jobs than they had in February 2020, before the pandemic began. Meanwhile, men lost 4.4 million jobs over that same time period.

While working-age women overall have largely recovered since the depths of the pandemic, mothers have repaired their losses more slowly.  As of July 2021, nearly 1 million fewer mothers were actively working than in July 2020, according to Misty Heggeness, principal economist and senior adviser at the Census Bureau.

There are things employers can do to help. In a panel discussion on Tuesday hosted by the Independent Women’s Forum, a national organization dedicated to developing and advancing policies for women, experts discussed what employers can do to keep their female employees, especially those with children, on the payroll. Here are three things women say they want:

1. Accessible child care.

Many of the current struggles women face derive from finding adequate and affordable child care, said Angela Rachidi, senior fellow and Rowe Scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank that researches government, politics, economics, and social welfare.

She noted that many employer policies don’t completely meet a family’s needs, such as providing access to a convenient childcare provider. It’s also not particular to the pandemic, she noted that workplaces should be focusing on policies that offer more flexible, more affordable options, as opposed to just blanket childcare subsidies.

“I think that that’s where our focus should be,” said Rachidi. “It should be not only our government policies, but again, our workplace policies to make child care better, and meet the needs of families.”

2. Workplace flexibility.

Flexibility is vital to all working parents–not just mothers–but mothers are often quicker to express a desire to have the flexibility to work a reduced schedule, if need be, said Rachel Greszler, a research fellow at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank in Washington D.C. So if the goal is to keep working parents on the payroll–or get them back–allow them time off during the day if needed, or the ability to structure their own hours.

If you’ve offered more flexibility during the pandemic, think about maintaining those policies or asking employees their thoughts on new schedules. “The pandemic has allowed employers to see that they’re able to have these policies. And not only the paid family leave, but the remote work and the flexibility. And I think just will become a silver lining coming out of all of this,” said Greszler.

3. Paid-time off.

Paid-time off is useful for parents, who need the time to care for an infant or an ill loved one. President Biden’s American Families Plan includes $225 billion to create a paid medical and family leave program. The program would eventually guarantee 12 weeks of paid leave, and providing a federal subsidy for workers of up to $4,000 per month. The Department of Labor found that 95 percent of the lowest-wage workers, mostly women and workers of color, lack any access to paid family leave, so the program is needed.

But to keep women in the workforce long term, you should offer both paid leave and increased flexibility, said Greszler, because paid family leave, while necessary may have a lower utility for women on a day-to-day basis than, say, malleable hours.

“I don’t think [a lack of] paid family leave is is holding women back,” said Greszler. “Women increasingly value flexibility far more than family leave.”

Even so, both policies can be done and the balance of the two may also help employees be more productive. In 2019, for example the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation decided its generous 52-week paid parental leave policy was not working because too many workers would be out at the same time, creating more disruption that it was worth. Instead, the organization decided to offer half as much paid leave and a $20,000 stipend to new parents to help cover expenses and childcare.

Source: The Pandemic Led Many Women to Rethink Work. Here’s What They Want Most From Employers | Inc.com

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Women’s Safety and Health Issues at Work

 

Employees Are More Likely To Pretend They’re Working When Employers Track Their Productivity: Here’s Why

Shocked african business man feel frustrated looking at laptop screen

Big Brother-like attempts by employers to track the productivity of remote workers seems to be backfiring.

A new study released by research firm Gartner shows that employees are nearly two times more likely to pretend to be working when their employers use tracking systems to monitor their output. Gartner surveyed more than 2,400 professionals in January 2021.

“Our role as managers is to create an environment where people can do their best work. It’s really hard to do your best work if you feel like you are not trusted,” says Carol Cochran, vice president of people and culture at remote career site FlexJobs. “If I feel like someone doesn’t trust me enough to feel like I’m doing my work without monitoring through software, how do I trust them back? How do I build that physical safety?”

This past year, there’s been an uptick in reports of companies using monitoring software to keep tabs on their newly remote workforces, turning to technology to track their keystrokes and search histories, as well as tools to take periodic screenshots of their computers.

Reid Blackman, founder and CEO of corporate ethics consulting firm Virtue Consultants, said he’s not surprised employees are falsifying their work. “Obviously people are going to game the system … especially if they think the system is unfair,” he says.

Though he says it’s not unreasonable for managers to have concerns about  their workers’ productivity, he suggests they think critically about why they want to use such software and what they stand to accomplish before deploying any systems. Blackman also recommends discussing the move with employees beforehand so they can ask questions and understand the reasoning behind it.

Alexia Cambon, a research director at Gartner, says employers’ initial instincts to track their employees may have been well-intentioned, especially in the early days of the pandemic, when there was a need to recreate in-office strategies at home. However, many companies did not take human behavior into consideration, she says.

“If you know that, as humans, we will struggle to disconnect from a remote world …. then you really need to create strategies to incentivize people to disconnect and not stay on longer hours,” Cambon says.

Gartner also found that adapting office-centric practices for hybrid work environments, such as creating an abundance of meetings, has led to virtual fatigue. Employees who now spend more time in meetings are 1.24 times more likely to feel emotionally drained from their work, the study found.

Cambon cautions that when employees experience high levels of fatigue, their performance can decrease by up to 33% and feelings of inclusion can decrease by up to 44%. Ultimately, these workers are up to 54% less likely to remain with their employers, she says.

Contrary to prevailing advice, Cochran advises companies to reconsider asking their employees to turn on their cameras for video meetings, as doing so can make them more exhausting. As a compromise, she suggests that everyone turn on their cameras for the first couple of minutes to exchange pleasantries with coworkers, but turn them off when it’s time to work.

“We shouldn’t do things just because it seems right or seems like the best practice,” she says. “We really need to be intentional in how we are managing these workforces, whether they are remote, hybrid or in person.”

I’m the Careers reporter at Forbes. Previously, I covered the world’s richest people as a member of the wealth team. Before joining Forbes, I reported for the Hartford Courant and the New Haven Register, covering breaking and local news. A Connecticut native, I studied journalism at Penn State University. Follow me on Twitter @KristinStoller.

Kristin Stoller

 

By:

 

Source: Employees Are More Likely To Pretend They’re Working When Employers Track Their Productivity: Here’s Why

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► Find us at https://www.bernieportal.com/hr-party… Remote work can be tough on teams. In this episode, Ryan covers the struggles HR professionals face with engagement, the productivity tracking platforms that can solve these issues, and how to communicate updates to your team. BerniePortal: The all-in-one HRIS that makes building a business & managing its people easy. http://bit.ly/2NEQ5Qb
What is an HRIS? https://bit.ly/what-is-an-hris Stay up to date with the latest HR news and benefits administration by subscribing to the BerniePortal Blog https://blog.bernieportal.com/ Related Blog: Five Great Productivity Tools for Remote Workers https://blog.bernieportal.com/five-gr… Related Blog: Tips for Tracking Remote Work Employee Engagement https://blog.bernieportal.com/track-e… One Sheet Guide: Technology for Remote Workers by BerniePortal & BernieU https://cdn2.hubspot.net/hubfs/131307… Related Episode: Overtime Pay: Exempt vs. Non-Exempt https://www.bernieportal.com/hr-party…
Referenced Article: Gallup: Reviewing Remote Work in the U.S. https://news.gallup.com/poll/311375/r… For more check out the HR Party of One Tips for Working Remotely Playlist on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list… Hubstaff, the employee tracking software we use. https://hubstaff.com/ BernieU: Your free one-stop-shop for compelling, convenient, and comprehensive HR training and courses that will keep you up-to-date on all things human resources. Approved for SHRM & HRCI recertification credit hours. Enroll today! https://university.bernieportal.com/
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How to Reduce Tech-Related Stress for Customers and Employees

How to Reduce Tech-Related Stress for Customers and Employees

Your ability to become a successful company of the future depends on developing a cultural mindset that is focused on creating value for the people inside and outside the organization. The myth that technology drives digital transformation has been an ongoing fairy tale because while technology is an important factor, there is another element to the equation that creates a strong dependency on the first — the people.

Technology in most ways has a positive effect on business operations, especially in the automation of admin processes that come with communication with customers. While artificial intelligence is getting to know your customers by analyzing their wants and needs, it also means collecting huge amounts of customer insights. Some other digital tools such as chatbots are being used to interact with customers instead of a customer service agent and in some exceptional cases, this works just fine.

The belief that these digital tools can improve customer engagement like a miracle is just an illusion however, despite offering an effective and efficient way to speak to large audiences. The reality is that these technologies are greatly designed to replicate some sort of friendliness but are simply not able to offer the much-needed level of human connection customers need.

Covid-19 has been a wake-up call for businesses and has aggressively fast forwarded digital adoptions in working practices that most companies were not ready to take on. They were forced to send employees home who had to deal with the implementation and usage of new digital tools, something that should have progressively happened years ago.

According to research carried out by Mckinsey, it would have taken businesses more than a year to implement the level of remote working that was enforced as a result of the crisis. Despite the advantages of the nature of these digital technologies, the sudden change led to huge gaps of acceptance among the workforce and this is because employees have different needs, challenges and technical proficiency.

Employees and customers are often slow to adapt to new ways of doing things so now it’s time to ask yourself: What can I do to reduce the tech stress of my customers and employees and make their lives easier? I suggest two main things to consider:

1. Focus on the people.

Digitalization has many different positive aspects, but the more digital your business becomes the less human touch it can provide. Customers today expect more human interactions and less automated interactions. The role of new tech should make the life of your employees easier and ultimately highly complement their tasks so that they can focus on the emotional side of customer relationships.

The rush for easily monetizable consumer automated interactions makes it clear for customers that a brand is not authentically engaging with them. A Harvard Business Review study shows that companies are becoming increasingly impersonal by automating as many customer touchpoints as possible. In a highly digitalised world the human factor in customer experience gives your business a distinct competitive edge. The latest technology gets prioritised too often over authentic customer engagement.

First and foremost you should create an authentic and trusted customer relationship and then with the consent of your customers, use the technology available (predictive analytics and machine learning) to personalise the interactions with them. Not the other way around.

2. Reassess your digital initiatives.

As you’ve been experimenting with a huge number of virtual operations and interactions since before the pandemic started, you now have the opportunity to assess which technologies are extremely needed and which are not. The world of business is changing, some things will go back to previous ways, while others will remain changed forever.

You might think that using many different business tools to automate and improve processes will skyrocket productivity. However, switching between too many apps has some side effects such as lower productivity, higher costs and lack of collaboration in teams, to name a few. Developing a digital state of mind requires you to engage, educate and provide continuous support to your employees.

Low employee stress levels and making sure their experience remains positive throughout are as important as deciding which new technology to adopt. Digital transformation should have your people at the core because your people will be those who will make a successful transformation happen.

As I’m writing my book on customer-centricity, I find it imperative that companies find the right balance between the use of technology and human interactions. The challenge of the future is not whether artificial intelligence will replace people’s jobs but rather how to create a business culture in which technology and employees are able to walk hand-in-hand to provide human-driven customer experiences.

Ilenia Vidili

 

By: Ilenia Vidili / Entrepreneur Leadership Network VIP

 

Source: How to Reduce Tech-Related Stress for Customers and Employees

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How to Overcome Your Most Pressing Network Challenges

Today’s IT networks must change. As businesses adopt more modern, cloud-native apps and support a fast-growing remote workforce, they can no longer rely on traditional network architectures that use legacy hardware and bolted-on security. They need flexible, high-performance networks that can connect and protect applications across a multi-cloud environment.

Adopting a software-defined networking approach will be key for transforming networks. By using software as the primary means of directing and optimising network traffic and managing security, organisations can support modern applications and empower a remote workforce—all while streamlining management and cutting costs.

Though network transformation is essential, organisations do not have to launch a single all-or-nothing project. No enterprise would be willing to rip and replace a network that reaches from the data centre to the cloud and the edge. The cost to the business would be too high if anything goes wrong, and the investment in time and resources could be enormous.

Instead, organisations can start by addressing what matters most. They might be focused on delivering applications to employees and customers from multiple clouds. Perhaps they must support a suddenly larger remote workforce, providing high-performance connectivity to employees working from home. Maybe they’ve been shaken by a perimeter breach and need to implement Zero Trust security within the data centre immediately. Or they might want to accelerate provisioning of network services and gain more of a public cloud experience in the private data centre.

The VMware NSX® family of networking products helps organisations address these and other critical priorities. By drawing from modular NSX products, organisations can overcome immediate challenges while beginning to build a flexible, scalable and secure modern network that can handle evolving business requirements.

Deliver applications consistently across multiple clouds

IT groups must deliver apps consistently to employees and customers—no matter where those apps are running and how users are accessing them. Maintaining high performance is critical even as demand and usage patterns change. Employees should be productive whether they are remotely accessing a cloud-native app or using a workstation at headquarters to access an enterprise app running in the data centre. And customers should experience responsive apps even during peak usage periods.

VMware NSX Advanced Load Balancer™ is a software-based multi-cloud application delivery service that helps organisations maintain high performance. It provides fast, scalable and secure application experiences, whether applications are delivered from the cloud or from on-premises data centres.

Empower remote workers with a secure, high-performance network

The traditional branch office is a thing of the past. While physical workplaces will never disappear, the virtual office is here to stay. Organizations need to empower employees to work from anywhere—providing performance comparable to headquarters, even if employees are working from their living room couch. At the same time, organisations must enhance security so that remote workers do not put the enterprise at risk by using unsecured networks.

VMware NSX SD-WAN™ delivers reliable, high-performance access to cloud services; private, public and hybrid data centres; and software-as-a-service (SaaS)–based enterprise applications. To strengthen security at the edge, VMware also offers a comprehensive secure access service edge (SASE) solution, which integrates NSX SD-WAN with Zero Trust network access capabilities, a secure web gateway and an AI-driven intelligence, all delivered through a SaaS model. The VMware SASE Platform™ provides next-level security and peace of mind for supporting distributed workforces.

Secure the data centre from the inside out

As businesses expand their networks and run apps in new cloud environments, they must also fortify security. IT groups need ways to secure traffic for virtual, physical, containerised and cloud workloads, safeguarding against lateral movement of malware and ensuring ongoing compliance with strict regulations.

VMware NSX products help establish intrinsic, built-in security to protect apps and data wherever they reside. For example, the VMware NSX Service-defined Firewall™ is a distributed scale-out internal firewall purpose-built to protect east-west traffic across virtual, physical, containerised and cloud workloads. This solution architecture enables a fundamental shift in network security by placing a software-delivered firewall inside the data centre, close to apps, instead of using a traditional perimeter firewall at the data centre edge. IT groups can now thwart lateral movement of malware through advanced threat prevention while controlling costs and complexity.

Gain public cloud agility across all clouds, public and private

To keep up with new business imperatives, many organisations are looking to speed provisioning of networking services and security capabilities. They want the same level of agility they experience with public cloud environments, even as they bring together private clouds, public clouds and edge clouds in a single, integrated network.

VMware NSX products can accelerate delivery of consistent, multi-cloud networking and security capabilities by providing the foundation for software-defined networking. For example, VMware NSX Data Center is a complete layer 2 through layer 7 platform that reproduces the entire network model in software. IT groups can create and provision any network topology—from simple to complex—in seconds. They can consistently manage networking and security policies across data centres and cloud environments from a single console.

Start your network transformation now

As businesses adopt new apps and support new ways of working, they need to transform their networks. Deploying a software-defined network enhances agility for continued change. VMware NSX products enable businesses to create a modern network—built for the cloud, delivered as software and services. As modular offerings, NSX products allow businesses to select the best starting point now and incorporate new products within a unified framework as their network transformation continues.

By VMware

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Moxa

Today’s remote ITS networks are more critical than ever. Upgrading an existing TMS to ATMS network is no longer solely focused on connectivity. This webinar covers 4 major network challenges and how to overcome them. 1. Connecting existing legacy assets 2. Skills Gap 3. Network Complexity 4. Network Security and Management #MoxaConnects#IntelligentTransportation

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Making a Success of Remote Working for the Long Term

During the spring wave of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020, almost half of all employees in the UK were working from home at least some of the time. Whilst this was, of course, a scary time for everyone, there was also a sense of banding together, battening down the hatches and maybe even a little excitement at being able to work from home for the first time. Many adapted well to this strange new set-up. Kitchen tables became digital business hubs and spare bedrooms make-shift Zoom boardrooms.  

But that was nearly 10 months ago, and the short-term shift to remote working has gradually become a more permanent, fundamental change in the way we work. And many are now realising the potential pitfalls.  

Driven partly by the resurgence of the virus following the summer, and also by shifting attitudes of employers who are now realising they can trust their people to get the job done and remain productive without their watchful eye, remote working is here to stay in some capacity. A recently released survey from KPMG showed how 68 percent of CEOs plan on downsizing their offices to reflect this shift, and it seems that what was the most popular employee benefit of the last decade has been fast-tracked some 20 years in the space of 10 months. 

That’s all well and good for those who have adjusted well or have properties large enough to accommodate a home office. But not everyone wants to be working from home. Some miss the buzz of the office and the social aspect of a workplace. Others may miss the ‘me time’ that a commute afforded them. Indeed, many new members of the work-from-home community may have contributed to the startling increase in divorce rates and break-ups.

 Maybe that open-plan family room wasn’t such a good idea after all. Regardless of which camp you’re in, remote working in some form is here to stay. So how can you make a success of it? Here are some pointers from someone who’s been a member of the work-from-home clan for more than two years now. 

Create a dedicated space. 

The biggest change that new work-from-homers will need to make as a short-term solution shifts into a permanent new reality is creating a space in their home that’s sole purpose is work.  

Kitchen tables, the sofa or cluttered box room just won’t cut it anymore. Even for organisations that switch to a 3-2-2 model or a variation of it (that’s three days in the office, two working remotely and two days off at the weekend), it’d be a struggle in terms of professional mindset to move from office to sofa and maintain the same attitude, output and productivity. 

A dedicated space helps create a more seamless transition between workplace and home working. It will induce a professional mindset when you enter and aid focus. This dedicated space should ideally be cut off in some way from distractions and general home noises.  

I don’t think I would have been nearly as productive over the last two years if every morning was a trip to the kitchen to turn the laptop on and there I stayed until 6 p.m. That close a proximity to the fridge certainly wouldn’t have helped things either! 

Play around with the ambience.  

One of the big benefits that many would have enjoyed when starting their first few remote workdays is having total control over the office environment. Radio station? Pick your favourite. Too warm? No need to negotiate opening a window with an always-cold coworker.  

For long-term remote working, it’s good to play around with the ambience of your home office to find what works best.  

As an example, I always find talk radio is a great backing track for the morning rush to clear the inbox and check on campaigns. But the post-lunch lull requires a lively Spotify playlist at full blast to maintain productivity.  

Others find that certain tasks, such as a blog or technical writing, can be easier to focus on with softer background noise such as rain sounds or even a YouTube video of general office background noise (I kid you not, and I’ve tried it, and it does work on occasion). 

Have a play around with lighting too. Natural light is always best for alertness and attention, whilst for those who like to work into the evenings, softer lamp light may be less harsh.  

Finally, have a think about the temperature of your room. Whilst it’s very tempting to create a snug office that’s always warm, research has found that we tend to lose focus and productivity in rooms that are too warm. After all, if you’re a bit tired after a long drive, you don’t whack the heating on – you open the window for some fresh air.  

Force yourself to stay connected.

Remote working presents a challenge to both extroverts and introverts.  

For the former, not being surrounded by co-workers, a lack of “real” conversations or office socialising are a real problem when it comes to working from home. They thrive on these interactions and, as such, working alone at home can become frustrating and isolating.  

On the flip side, for introverts who likely gravitate toward remote working more naturally, there is a danger of slipping into a mindset that starts to resent or even fear the Zoom or MS Teams call sound after a few hours of peace. For the more introverted, the office forced social interactions. Remote working can quickly see you start to actively avoid the group chats and digital socials.  

Whichever camp you may be in – and it can be a bit of both depending on your mood and how fatigued you are – forcing yourself to stay connected is critical for long-term remote working. 

And force yourself to stop working, too. 

This is probably the biggest problem for the WFH community. For a workforce that was increasingly becoming an ‘always-on’ workforce, working from home has exacerbated the problem – especially when the makeshift workspace was the kitchen table or living room armchair.  

But it’s critical for the long-term success of remote working to force yourself to STOP. If your organisation has still enforced a 9-5 or equivalent working hours – just work those hours then shut up shop for the day. If your employers are really forward-thinking and allow for both remote working and flexible hours too, then make sure you’re pacing yourself too.  

recent survey from The Office Group found that working longer hours was the biggest contributor to burnt-out millennials, alongside the inability to separate work and personal life.  

Remember, you’re no good to anyone if you burn out from overworking. And it’s detrimental to your physical and mental health. So take a break, try to switch off when your day is done and resist the late-night email check.  

The best ways I’ve found to deal with this is actually leaving the house when a particular working shift is done, either to walk the dog or a trip to the shop. It breaks the work mindset and helps you to switch off. Give it a try!  

By: Arthur Wilson Entrepreneur Leadership Network VIP

Modus Create, Inc.

Modus Project Manager Samantha Park sits down with Co-Founder Jay Garcia to discuss how remote life differs at Modus from other organizations, share some of their techniques to make remote work easier, and talk about some of the challenges they’ve experienced working in a non-traditional environment. Ms. Park elaborates on the flexibility and independence that remote work provides, and discusses the expectation and reality of remote work, how to create a work-life balance, and tips for staying focused and on track. Modus is always on the lookout for people who want to work in an environment where they are challenged to grow and do great things with awesome people. Think you have what it takes to work with us? Check out our open positions at https://moduscreate.com/careers​ Subscribe to our YouTube channel, and turn on notifications! https://mdus.co/subscribe​ Sam on Social Media: Twitter – https://twitter.com/sparkps126​ LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/in/samantham…​ Blog – https://moduscreate.com/blog​ Timestamps: 0:24​ – Working remotely at Modus 0:50​ – Going fully-remote for the first time 1:38​ – Dealing with loneliness 2:08​ – Expectation vs. reality of remote work 2:33​ – Drawing a boundary between work and life 3:29​ – The flexibility of remote work 4:14​ – Building an office space at home 5:16​ – Leading Modus while remote Modus Create is a disruptive consulting firm based on the model of an open-source team dedicated to making the best software on earth, and to leaving the world better than we found it. Together with our customers, we build products that empower people with breakthrough services and experience. Modus is always on the lookout for people who want to work in an environment where they are challenged to grow and do great things with awesome people. Think you have what it takes to work with us? Check us out at https://moduscreate.com/careers#workfromhome#remotework#employeeinterview#workculture#collaboration#collaborationtools#creativethinking

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