How can we support women’s well being at work?

October 11, 2022
A collage style image of animated women working around a table with a pink background.
In recognition of women’s health issues this month, we at Beaconforce wanted to highlight this topic and share our insights on how employers can support their women’s well-being by focusing on maintaining good physical and more importantly mental health at work, helping them to feel their best and reduce their risk of several chronic conditions and diseases.

In today’s world of work, it’s a constant battle for equality between men and women. The World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report for 2022 states that it will take another 132 years to close the global gender gap. It’s still a work in progress particularly when it comes to how we support women’s well-being at work. While we continuously strive to create a workforce that is both diverse and inclusive, we must always remember the many factors that are involved in this. One major area of concern is women’s health at work and this should never be overlooked.

It’s no secret, women deal with much more or much different health and well-being concerns in comparison to their male colleagues. Unfortunately, many women may feel like their concerns go unnoticed. We must recognize that this is detrimental to our workplace.

For an organization to not only stay competitive but be relevant in today’s economy, diversity is key. Women play a key role in fostering creativity within an organization and nurturing the everyday operations of their place of work. By not taking care of your female employees and prioritizing women’s well-being there is a great risk of losing top talent resulting in a major undervaluation of your company.

The first thing to remember is that health and well-being are not only physical. They’re social, economic, and even emotional. One of the most important things that we have to focus on when it comes to our female employees is ensuring that they feel on par with their male colleagues. Gender inequality is unfortunately still extremely prevalent however, it’s a great time to start to band together as an organization to show our support.

There are many ways to kickstart the train in empowering our women in the workforce. here are a few of our top picks:
  • Provide Accessible Advice and Counsel

    As mentioned before, the challenges women face are just as emotional as they are physiological. Something as simple as creating a designated room or space where they can escape for a moment during the day to have a rest or a break can be extremely beneficial in easing their symptoms especially if they may be pregnant or menopausal. Women also have to deal with a lot of hormonal changes at different stages of their life. Implementing strategies where they have easy access to peer support ensures that the women in your workforce are taken care of and are working at their best and that their well-being is at its best. Adobe has taken the reins on this by creating Wellness Programs specifically catered to their female employees.
  • Open & Honest Conversations

    Talking about women’s issues at work should not be exclusive to just women. Leaders should encourage open and honest communication among all genders and each person should be both knowledgeable and sensitive to the other. When everyone is informed it provides a greater amount of support. Companies can have sessions open for all to attend that educate and highlight women’s well-being & wellness issues. This creates an environment where women feel more comfortable expressing whatever they may be dealing with, without the fear of being judged or criticized. Take a look at Hubspot’s Women@HubSpot Employee Resource Group, created by employees for employees to empower, inspire and support.
  • Customize the Health Plan

    Your company providing you with a decent health plan is a no-brainer. It’s extremely important however to understand that it’s not one size fits all. Each person and each gender have their own medical needs which should be met. Creating customized and specific health plans that cover the requirements of the women in your organization is imperative. The Boston Consulting Group has made it their mission to not only provide optimal healthcare for their female employees but also extend to their families.
  • Take the time to Listen

    Some female employees may be less comfortable than others when it comes to talking about what they might be dealing with. This does not mean that they should be overlooked. Companies need to create a safe space where their employees feel heard and no one should ever feel left out. Take the time to create surveys where you can better understand any queries or questions your employees may have. This will not only help you to understand their expectations from the company but also help you to make the necessary changes.

    Beaconforce’s Climate Survey was created by a lab of organizational experts allowing you to have the best tools available to maximize employee listening.
  • Rethink Maternity

    Women forever feel like they’re not spending enough time with their newborns. They also feel like they are returning to work too soon. If your female employees are at work worrying about the new bundle of joy at home, this is not good for their well-being or for your organization. It may be time to rethink the amount of maternity leave given to new mothers. As we saw with the pandemic, an office at home is as normal as a morning cup of coffee, therefore, creating an opportunity we’re new moms are able to work from home or even part-time ensures that they feel encouraged not only as an employee but also as working moms.
  • Improve Childcare Options

    While on the topic of pregnancy and maternity, it’s important to support women even after giving birth. Postpartum care is just as important if not more than maternity care. How can we support this? Create spaces where women are free to breastfeed while at work. They can even take it a step further and provide support for all the mental challenges that come during postpartum. Your employees will not only feel valued and nurtured but also have a sense of loyalty to the company and will always put their best foot forward when it comes to their job. Read about how Microsoft supports its women both during and after childbirth.
  • Establish & Encourage Advocacy

    You must show the women in your workforce that you care. Not just that you care about their well-being but you care about the well-being of women as a whole. Giving them a designated room or space is not enough. Having a workshop on the effects of postpartum depression for all employees is also not enough. We have to take it outside of the office and advocate for women’s rights worldwide. Supporting women should be an integral part of your company’s values and mission. In this way, the women in your workforce know that their well-being is always at the center and not only in moments of crisis.

    It’s important to recognize that many industries have been making motions in supporting and advocating for women’s health. While we still have a long way to go, we must get the message and the information out there. Education is key, educating leaders and managers on how supporting their women is not only beneficial to their employees but to the company provides a step in the right direction.
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