More women in management positions, four-day week and more men in the home office.

More women in management positions, four-day week and more men in the home office.

8 mars 2022 · Dettling's Column

Why Corona is becoming a booster for more equality - Is Corona putting the brakes on equality in the workforce? Corona would set back gender equality, by 30 years. Many women complained at the start of the pandemic. The new division of labor suddenly became the old one: Women stand at the hearth and supervise homework, men do video conferencing and tinker with their careers. For women, home office means "lots of home and little office."

Corona becomes a game changer on gender issues

Is the pandemic ruining what women have spent decades fighting for and earning? The power of change argues against this snapshot. Corona is accelerating change in the world of work and family. Never before have so many men worked from home as in the last two years. The vast majority of fathers have taken more care of their children than before the pandemic. This is another reason why more and more companies and managers are rethinking their approach. The pandemic is also becoming a game changer when it comes to gender. The months of lockdown and contact restrictions have shown that entire industries can slump, and it’s better if both partners are in paid work.

According to Corona, gender equality is advancing faster as more companies look to women for leadership. The increasing presence of women on the executive floors has an influence on salary distribution as well as productivity in companies, German behavioral economist Matthias Sutter proves in his new book (“The Human Factor”). Quota regulations motivate the best-qualified women in particular to compete for management positions, which significantly improves their chances of promotion. Studies show that companies that live diversity have come through the crisis more successfully. Our working world will change faster than we think.

In addition to work locations, working hours are also becoming more flexible and fluid. Belgium has now become the first European country to introduce the four-day week. Employees can complete their total working hours in four days instead of five. In doing so, Belgium is following the lead of Iceland. There, 85 percent of employees have opted for the three-day weekend. Those who work shorter hours are more productive and less likely to be absent due to illness, according to the results of an Icelandic field study. Meetings in particular were shortened or omitted.

Progress comes faster

Historians will divide the future of work into “before and after Corona.” Before the outbreak of the pandemic, the World Economic Forum calculated that the gender gap would not close for another 99 years, if everything remained as it is. According to Corona, progress is coming faster. “More women in leadership positions, 4-day work weeks for all, and more men in home offices” is the new triad of equality.

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