During the Covid19 lockdown, workers had little choice but to work from home if it was at all possible.
At present, flexible work has come into the spotlight and is being considered a good option, for women workers in particular.
But what are the Pro and Cons of working from home for women?
One of the attractions is being able to look after the family while keeping a paid job. And also cutting down on travelling time to and from work.
But would the lines between home and work became blurred? Would there be extra physical and mental burdens placed on women?
Looking forward to your comments .
There are potential problems and I can see that the more one is involved in the household and the people likely to be in the house (as most women are) the harder it will be to manage your time. I worked from home for years long before it was so common and I did not have most of those additional responsibilities and it was still hard sometimes.
I found that while you can embrace the flexibility that you can gain there still needs to be structure and order. With little (in my case being self-employed none) structure imposed you have to make your own. I needed to plan my day to make the best of it. This meant satisfying clients, getting jobs done by deadline but also nipping out for an extra surf when the swell was up and the wind offshore or fixing the blocked drain before a flood happened. Even if you don’t get dressed or bathed getting up and starting each work day is important.
With small children in the house it will be very hard to concentrate on any item of work unless they are asleep. I think this is going to work much better once they go to school, then the day falls into a schedule and getting work done between (say) 9 and 3 becomes possible. I suppose for some it becomes sensible to employ child minders much as those who go out to work do. Unless the problem is solved one way or another I don’t see any chance of success as both parenting and work will suffer. As for all the other duties of the homemaker they can be scheduled or wait. That means if a child or spouse leaves a mess you might have to just shut the door and pretend it isn’t there. Let’s not get lost in the issue of men taking some of the housework off their wives when the wives return to work as that applies for all types of work.
Being housebound is another problem. Many people are not good at working alone, they need interpersonal contact and will suffer if they don’t get it. Many people who take the role of homemaker relish getting out of the house sometimes just to have an adult conversation, or any at all. I did not have the problem as my work was very immersive, I needed to set the alarm to stop and stretch and take a break, not all work is like that. Even so looking at the inside of the same four walls has its limits.
Here’s an idea; morning tea clubs for those in the street who work from home. Get to know your neighbours, you may find other benefits.
That’s what I was thinking of too,
getting out to go to a paid job can be a safety valve for some women.
Isolation can be a burden, as well as being available to constant demands from family. Maybe a mix of working from home and going to the workplace a few days a week?
And (horror) what if the workplace would become a ‘male only’ place?
Long before the pandemic work from home became commonplace, I worked for very large international IT company, lets call them Big Blue.
They only provided enough office space for half the workers, so working from home at least a few days a week was normal, and encouraged.
They provided all the equipment, and paid for all the communications costs.
It was a system that worked very well.
The systems were all in place but in some cases there was hesitancy to implement, for various reasons. The Pandemic made it necessary in most Australian cities and @anon97293279 feels it might lead to a reassessment of the number of workers needed and possibly going offshore with remote work. What do you think @Gregr?
@Gaby, the IT systems I supported were located all over Australia and NZ. Some were in the US and Asia.
The coworkers I dealt with were located all over the place. My manager for a few years was in QLD, with me in VIC.
The payroll support people were in the Phillipines, the process management teams in India, and high-level technical support in the US.
Made no difference where I worked from as long as I had a connection to the Internet and my laptop. Could have done my job from a yacht in the Whitsundays, or a tent in the mountains with a satphone.
It’s more likely we have already outsourced to OS based contractors the majority of those jobs. For the jobs that remain in ‘Stray-ya’ do they require a degree of local knowledge, and from time to time personal interaction?
Where business needs a more personal experience, there is always Zoom etc as a substitute for face to face.
Currently Australia has a ‘half baked’ NBN. This might limit the opportunities to specific economic groups. It is most likely to disadvantage families in rural and regional Australia. IE where the NBN service is useless, the demands around schooling more onerous, and child care options few or nil. It’s also our experience that small regional communities often have fewer opportunities for meaningful paid employment. Something being more able to work from home could remedy.