This week, the most female-friendly companies leading the way when it comes to supporting women inside and outside the workforce, navigating guilt at work, and why 2022 is the year of the worker. Read this week’s trends from the world of work.

The Covid pandemic has put such a great burden on women that many of them…just left the workforce. That’s nothing new.

 

But out of the pandemic comes a sign of hope: female-friendly companies leading the way in supporting women, as told by more than 85,000 people surveyed across 40 countries worldwide.

 

What else matters this week?

 

The work-from-home revolution hasn’t benefited everyone. Older workers were staying in the labour market for longer…until the pandemic hit.

 

In case you’re one of the only people who hasn’t seen this video: the New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern was interrupted by her three-year-old daughter, proving that you can indeed work from home and blend you personal life and work life.

 

A strong labour market depends on a workforce that possesses current, relevant skills and knowledge. Here’s one way to close the skills gap in a sustainable manor.

 

Construction firms need to do more to “woo” young people to meet the huge skills shortage the industry is facing.

 

Staffing shortages continue across many countries, and in the U.S., child care is particularly hard hit – and the math just doesn’t add up. More on that later.

 

We’ve got a full breakdown of all the top headlines you can’t miss this week.

 

 

#1. The world’s top female-friendly companies.

 

The Covid-19 pandemic has taken a heavy toll on women around the globe. That’s nothing new, especially with new research on women looking to leave their jobs. In fact, by January 2021, nearly 3 million women dropped out of the workforce.

 

The pandemic has also set back the time it will take to close the gender pay gap globally. That time has not increased from 99.5 years to 135.6 years, according to data from the World Economic Forum.

 

The issues are not new, either: lack of childcare, balancing work and home life, stress and burnout, and low pay, to name a few. Covid amplified this burden so much so that many women simply left the workforce.

 

However, out of the pandemic comes signs of light and progress. In a study with Statista, Forbes has identified some of the most female-friendly companies leading the way when it comes to supporting women inside and outside the workforce. More than 85,000 women were surveyed across 40 countries.

 

In this ranking, companies like The Hershey Company, Southwest Airlines, Miele Gruppe, and Skanska ranked highly as female-friendly workplaces. Read the full list here.

Photo: Owen Lystrup via Unsplash

#2. 2022 will be the year of the worker.

 

The 2020 and 2021 lockdowns around the world were hard on workers. Some lost their jobs. Others workers with lower salaries to survive.

 

Some analysts worry that the pandemic will usher in a harsher era where workers struggle to find jobs – or, where AI takes over jobs. But there’s no reason to be pessimistic, the Economist argues.

 

Now, more than ever, workers have more bargaining power than they have had for years.

 

Three factors show that the world of work will continue to outperform expectations: work-from-home trends, automation, and public policy. Read more at the Economist.

Photo: ThisisEngineering RAEng via Unsplash

#3. Letting go of the “being caught up at work” fantasy.

 

How many people have felt the crushing weight of their to-do lists weighing them down?

 

Many people have to-do lists so long that it’s not clear there’s an end to it all. When both important and unimportant tasks linger, unfinished, it’s easy to start feeling that guilt and shame creep in.

 

Are those actually useful emotions, though?

 

According to the Harvard Business Review, it depends.

 

Shame is rarely, if ever, a useful emotion to productivity and emotional health. Many times, it can actually hurt your productivity. Guilt, on the other hand, can motivate you to get work done – but only if you’re in a position to do something about it. Neither of these emotions are helpful if you’re away from the office.

 

What’s the answer? Self-compassion, to start. Read the full story here.

Photo: Josefa nDiaz via Unsplash

#4. Childcare is failing workers in the U.S.

 

Post-pandemic life is slowly returning, and for many parents, life is returning to normal. But one part of the equation still doesn’t fit: childcare. Across the U.S., parents find themselves in between a rock and a hard place as daycares suffer staffing shortages. As a result, many daycares are running at reduced capacity – or not at all. Daycares may close with little to no notice, leaving parents scrambling to find an alternative. In the end, women are taking the bulk of the time away from work.

 

“The pandemic worsened the realities of child care in this country,” said Hannah Matthews, deputy executive director for policy at the Center for Law and Social Policy, in the Wall Street Journal. However, he added, the sector was already in trouble before the pandemic. Read more here.

Photo: Willian Fortunato via Pexels

#5. The not-so-cool way some bosses monitor their employees at home.

 

With the work-from-home revolution came another innovation: electronic monitoring of home workers. Many firms have been using technology to monitor how their staff work.

 

Think: cameras watching you work, movement sensors to track your actions, and recorded mouse movements. Some bosses can even take screenshots of your desktop.

 

Take 31-year-old Chris, whose company ordered Chris, and others, to connect their private laptops and desktop computers to powerful office machines. When he later came into the office, he discovered that everyone’s desktops were on their work computers in the office, on display. One manager wasn’t just looking at their work – he could watch the employees watch YouTube or handle other personal matters, like checking email.

 

"It was creepy," Chris told the BBC. "One of my managers was watching people's personal computers to monitor what we were doing at home - all the time, not just when we were working. It was a bizarre way to carry on."

 

As a result, at least one union is calling for much stronger regulation of this monitoring technology. Read the full story in the BBC.

Photo: Scott Webb via Pexels

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