According to a recent study undertaken by researchers at Northwestern University, the University of California, San Diego, and the University of Mannheim in Germany, the Covid-19 pandemic will have a “disproportionate negative effect on women and their employment opportunities,” the New York Times reports.
The good news is, in the authors’ words, that the shift in workplace culture and increased flexibility caused by the pandemic may also promote gender equality in the long game, but things look bleak in the short run.
As things stand now, female U.S. workers earn ca. 82 cents per each dollar their male counterparts earn. This is the statistics for full-time white employees. Women of color have it considerably more difficult. Black women earn ca. 62 cents and Hispanic women – ca. 54 cents.
Because of the current pandemic, these inequities will become clearer than ever, since many women stand to lose their jobs. Matthias Doepke, one of the authors of the research and an economics professor at Northwestern University explains these immediate effects.
Doepke says that recessions usually affect men more than women given that construction and manufacturing are the most affected sectors. This pandemic, however, is another matter entirely. As things stand now, the travel sector and restaurants are bound to be affected the most, and actually, they already are. These two industries alone predominantly employ women.
However, Doepke adds that “big crises have the potential to bring about cultural change.” Obviously, with the increasing number of people working from home, it is only to be expected that companies will invest more in technology and maybe (but only maybe) finally come to realize that numerous roles can be performed at home better than at an office.
The practice is beneficial not only for families but also for businesses spending a small fortune on office space, lunches, team buildings, employee experience, etc.
How does the present conundrum affect female entrepreneurs overall? And how will these shifts affect the way they do business in the future?
Getting More Exposure
First of all, the established social norms will have difficulties withstanding the test of time. Due to the present situation when an increasing number of people are finding themselves out of their jobs, routines and perception are bound to change.
The most obvious examples are stay-at-home mothers who have switched their role with their significant others, who have lost their jobs because they can find employment faster. This holds especially true for certain professions that are in short supply due to the crisis.
Regardless of the tragic circumstances that have brought this change about, the fact remains that women, in general, are getting more exposure.
We all know that the biggest issue for female entrepreneurs is lack of exposure and, by extension, resources. Networking is generally accepted to be the key to solving this crucial issue and networking has never been more alive than nowadays. The setting may have changed, but online meetings are on the rise.
Given that work-from-home is less novel to many nowadays, with the rise of the gig economy and digital nomads, getting to terms with the situation is the first natural step to take. Female founders may have fewer problems with that because they are used to keeping in touch with colleagues via all available communication channels, online solutions included.
To boost productivity, many have turned to daily online meetings. Not only does the practice help cope with the stressful situation, but it also keeps tasks in line with ease.
Focusing on Meaningful Tasks
Startups are a high-risk environment where more gambles go to waste rather than pay off. It is a stressful setting and calls for strength of both will and mind, both of which seem to be the main stressors for female entrepreneurs.
Successful founders advise setting up meaningful tasks – at least one per day – that are both challenging and realistic. Setting up tasks that are too difficult and don’t have a reasonable deadline will only serve to stress you out more.
First Things First
Given that seemingly all activities have moved indoors, it is important to separate them properly. On top of that, a dedicated workplace is an absolute must. Many people seem to find it difficult to adjust their mindset to working from home simply because they are not used to it.
Also, getting lazy is way too easy. In fact, now that we don’t have to observe a dress code, many people find it difficult to get out of their pajamas. Seriously!
Therefore, we’d suggest setting up a daily routine that includes even the simplest of activities. For example, take a shower and get dressed in the morning. As for the choice of clothes, it varies from person to person.
Some people find it easier to simply dress for office while others enjoy the freedom to wear their leisure clothes. Whatever works for you! Just don’t wear the first piece of clothing that is handy because it is too troublesome to open the wardrobe.
You’ve guessed it, right? Psychology plays a major role here. You need to teach yourself that albeit you are not leaving your home, a new working day has arrived all the same.
Don’t Forget to Work Out
If you are used to working out outside or in a gym, you may find it easy to simply get discouraged. This is a huge no go, especially since the offer has never been better than nowadays.
Just a simple Google search will show you how many free workout routines there are out there. We have all heard of online yoga and t’ ai chi ch’üan classes simply because these arts are suitable for both indoor and outdoor activity.
Gym lovers may argue that they lack equipment, but the truth is that this is only an excuse. There are many workout routines you can do at home. In fact, many people are only discovering that solitude helps them perform better. Try it out – maybe you’re one of them.
Last but not Least
Perhaps the most important bit of advice is: steer clear of distractions. People not accustomed to working from home will find it only too easy to waste time revisiting their social media profiles and checking and re-checking their inboxes simply because they can.
Taking things easy is one thing, but wasting precious time that may be used in better ways (far better ways!) is another thing.
The best way to solve this issue is by drafting a daily schedule. Simply include appropriate time slots for work, exercise, breaks and leisure activities (including “hanging out” on social media).
A perfect mixture of work, exercise, and leisure is the key to a happy life. Now that you have considerably more time, use the opportunity to treat yourself to something you normally wouldn’t have time to afford. Many people are already going back to work, but most office environments are still operating remotely or allowing their employees to make the choice. Make the most of this time while you still have it.
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