The majority of today’s workforce vouch to comprise equal ratios of men and women. On the contrary, the 2020 Economic Survey report of India pictures a grim sight of women’s participation in the labor force. It had declined from 25.3% in 2017-18 from 33.1% in 2011-12.
This slump can be attributed to many factors. One such primary concern is women’s health at work. The majority of women today simultaneously deal with demanding job and family roles. It is observed that the conflicting natures of multiple responsibilities and attendant roles negatively impact their overall health.
Importance of women’s health on work culture
“The difference between a broken community and a thriving one is the presence of women who are valued.” ~Michelle Obama
Diverse workplace demographics have distinct health needs. At work, women have different health requirements than men, which often go unnoticed. When these issues remain unaddressed, they lose their productivity and underperform at work, failing to meet their responsibilities. This forces them to take frequent job turnover, opt part-time jobs, reject promotions, accept low salaries, and accept early retirements.
So how does their absence affect your organization?
To stay competitive in today’s economy, you must diversify the workforce that nurtures innovation and border perspectives. Here’s where the women play a prime role in fostering creative ideas that keep an organization thriving. But their health shortcomings can be a detriment to employers, by losing top talents.
The U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics reports an alarming decline in unemployment, hitting 14.3% in 2020. This suggests that the battle of sustaining talents will intensify in the coming years. So losing the high performing employees will only under-value your organization in a challenging business. Hence, managers' role is crucial to retain talents, especially women employees who compromise jobs over important issues.
Role of Employers in uplifting Women’s health
Social, cultural, and economic factors significantly contribute to the health complications of a woman. But on the average percentage of work-related cases is more for women than men. The women labor report says that over 58% of surveyed U.S women suggested considering the workplace as a factor of their overall health.
Conditions such as endometriosis or infertility, pregnancy, and menopause issues go ignored in the workplace. Unrecognized women’s health at work puts a stack on their career potential.
The support from their employers is vital for these women to reach their full potential at work. Without it, they may be viewed negatively at work. These conditions affect them not only physically but also mentally. Investing in health promotion strategies will empower your employees’ wellbeing, especially women’s health.
Here are a few excellent ways to empower your female employee’s wellness.
Nine ways to support women’s health at work
1. Counsel them when they experience symptoms
Women go through a lot of hormones during menopause or pregnancy periods. Offering peer support can help in easing symptoms. You can also make a first aid room where she can take rest and relax.
2. Offer customized health assessments
Offering health assessment is essential for an organization for employee’s health and wellness. Make sure that your female employees are taken extra care, customize corporate health check-ups with gender-specific tests, and health coaching.
3. Break the stigma by having open conversations
To break the stigma around women’s health, having open conversations is essential. Men should know about women’s health requirements to become better help as co-workers, managers or leaders. You can create sessions on female wellness issues, which are open for all to attend. This will cover topics on wellbeing, symptoms, and treatments for both men and women that can impact their relationships.
4. Schedule flexible working hours
A woman continues to shoulder the responsibilities of work, household, and childcare equally. These put time constraints on her capacity of work, which negatively affects her overall wellness. Hence scheduling flexible working hours is one way to ease her from a hectic schedule.
5. Create surveys for better understanding
Some female employees may shy away from asking help when it comes to their health. It is crucial as a manager to equally focus on these women, to ensure they aren’t left out from availing benefits.
Taking a survey proves beneficial in such situations. You will understand their queries and expectations better. It will also help you to make the necessary changes to meet their shortcomings at work.
6. Offer workplace ergonomics
Women tend to have more occupational hazards than men. Cases of musculoskeletal disorders, stress, infections, and obesity are common among women. Offering workplace ergonomics will help them reduce health problems, encouraging a healthy life.
7. Offer work from the home policy post-maternity period
Nowadays, organizations are offering 80 days of maternity leave for a female employee. But this doesn’t suffice the amount of care the baby needs from their mother. It’s when she had to compromise her work over child care. Offering work from home policies or part-time work post-maternity leave can encourage your valuable employee to care for her child while working.
8. Create child care options for new mothers
Issues related to pregnancy are common for working women. Postpartum care is vital for a child’s growth, hence creating a breastfeeding room will help the mother take care of her child while at work. Not only your employee feels valued but also gains mental support from your side.
9. Advocate their stories
Enforce a workplace culture that allows women to feel care for and encouraged to convey their health issues. It’s essential to make them comfortable by ensuring that they are heard and not alone in crucial times. This gives managers the confidence to advocate for women’s stories in front of everyone and take the necessary steps to solve it.
For the past few years, women’s health issues have gained traction across industries. To support them, employers must understand their health conditions to consider it while making terms and policies.
Reviewing policies around their health and safety will ensure that they get holistic wellness from your organization. It helps in gaining the trust of your female employees, encouraging job retention. Making a few changes in work schedules, providing necessary resources, and openly communicating can help support women’s health at work.
Now I would like to know from you,
What strategies do you enforce for women’s health within your organization?
Please comment in the section below!