How homeworking and home-schooling will bring greater gender balance to the business world

There has been a lot of talk recently about how homeworking will continue long after the lockdown. After all, many of those employers who were previously reluctant to allow homeworking are now starting to see its benefits. But homeworking isn’t the biggest change for many people’s working lives right now. Many of us are now home-schooling our children too, and it is this change that will be far more impactful to our future way of life than any renewed interest in homeworking. Both changes will have a positive impact on our work/life balance.

The current period of national home-schooling will be a catalyst for much broader social change, particularly for women, as they will soon realise what they are capable of.

Like many millions of working mums, I have been forced to balance homeworking with home-schooling my two young children. My life has always been a balancing act, but like so many parents, I am being tested more than ever right now as I split my time between running my business, delivering projects for clients and home-schooling my children.

The COVID-19 lockdown is a challenge for us all. We are all having to adapt, and I bet many of you are surprised at how resilient and creative you can be when faced with a crisis. This crisis is showing women up and down the country that they CAN raise a family while also pursuing senior roles in their career. Think of how many role models are being created right now. You might not realise it, but the example you are setting your own children – and the resilience you are demonstrating – is sinking in and making a difference. I personally believe that the positive changes in mindset over the next three months will be game-changing, especially for many women who will see what they can accomplish when the situation demands it.

In time, these changes in mindset will change the nature of business as we know it, as more women will have the confidence to pursue those top jobs. Whether someone has, or plans to have a family or not, will not even enter into the decision process of whether to hire someone or not. It just won’t be relevant. Ultimately, this will see more women leaders in the FTSE 100, and in more senior roles generally. It turn this will change the very nature of the business world as more women are given the opportunity to shape the world’s biggest companies in the way they feel is best.

This will also prompt every other business to re-evaluate how they operate. Those that embrace home and flexible working for example are more likely to survive this crisis compared to those who insist on making people work from the office, or those that may allow people to work from home but insist on specific (i.e. “office”) hours. This trend will extend beyond more home working and flexi-working, but towards more compassionate and empathetic businesses, more family-centric business models, and a move to a more even distribution of childcare responsibilities. With more women leaders, we will see more “new” thinking from businesses and a new wave of creativity.

The COVID-19 outbreak is the biggest challenge most of us have ever faced. But it is also showing us the incredible strength of leadership and community. Across the country people are stepping up to help their friends and neighbours. We are genuinely all in this together. For any person who cares for others (whether that be children, grandmothers, carers of elderly/disabled, or anyone who just wants a better work life balance), despite all the doom and gloom, this is already looking like a much better world to me.

Author: Editorial Team

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