I’ve been talking to dozens of high performing career women over the past few weeks about their career fears, frustrations, and challenges—and I’ve learned a lot. The bad news? Many of these women feel unmotivated and disillusioned about their companies and their careers. The good news? There are some easy solutions to some of these challenges.
Three themes emerged from my conversations with rising women leaders in the workplace:
The tendency to pile more duties on top of already overwhelmed employees hasn’t stopped during this global pandemic—in fact, for many it’s increased. Nearly every woman I spoke with felt like she was stretched too thin at work, and like she was constantly racking her brain to remember which project she was dropping the ball on.
The constant Slack notifications, emails coming at all hours of the day and night, a lack of boundaries because they’re working from home paired with the real limits on relaxing extracurricular activities that are possible right now is leading to many of these women feeling like they’re incapable of taking on more work—but also incapable of saying no without fear of losing their job during a period of economic instability or being reprimanded.
Lack of transparency
Many women I spoke with said they wished there was more transparency from their companies during this unusual time. Now that many have been ‘temporarily’ working from home for more than 12 months, workers wish they had more insight into what comes next. Of course, it could be that companies don’t have all the answers—but complete silence on company timelines and priorities or secretive conversations among leadership led to increased feelings of anxiety and frustration for those women I connected with.
An inability to focus, engage, & stay motivated when working from home
Many women struggle with working from home, and some are anxious about when going back to the office will be expected. Working from home isn’t just an issue because it’s remote—add in complicated childcare situations, multiple adults working from home at the same time, internet issues, a lack of dedicated workspace and the mental exhaustion of working and living in the same space for a year, and work from home isn’t exactly a treat. Many women in leadership are feeling burnt out unable to perform to the best of their abilities, let alone feel motivated and capable of motivating and engaging others.
Here’s a non-exhaustive list of possible solutions to help support the women in your company as we enter into this new quarter:
Burnout resolution and prevention: Offer all employees resources on preventing burnout ,and also encourage upper management to model taking advantage of these resources. Free tools to help combat burnout include journaling and long term goal setting, and paid opportunities may include working with a leadership coach to help employees develop individual boundaries and clarify their success expectations.
Childcare support: Consider how you can support employees struggling with childcare costs and/or logistics. If you’ll be returning to office, is there a way to provide benefits that support the cost of full time childcare? If you’ll continue to see employees working from home, ask them for input on how you can support them as they juggle both responsibilities (for example: more flexible scheduling, not requiring video on during meetings, etc.)
Practice transparency with consistency: Establish a regular weekly discourse to keep everyone updated on news, changes, and timelines. This can even be transparency around small decisions—but consistency will build trust within the team.
Lower output expectations: This one might sound like the toughest, but consider stating to employees that you see their struggle and want to re-establish your expectations between now and the future time when you’re able to fully return to office. Stating this on a company wide level gives permission for these conversations to happen between managers and their teams.
I offer professional coaching for rising women leaders in the corporate world, with a focus on helping them overcome challenges in the workplace via professional coaching, virtual coaching, invitation only masterminds and powerful online courses. If your goals for the year include beating burnout, let’s talk! I’d love to help you build an action plan for success. Click here to apply for a free coaching consultation with me directly!