As women, we continue to face challenges in the workplace year after year. We hope it will improve with time, but unfortunately, that is still not the case. What continues to drive these issues, and what can be done to work towards improvement?
An annual survey conducted by Deloitte offers some insight into the stress women are experiencing in the workplace. They found stress continues to rise, with 53% of women reporting their stress levels are higher than they were last year. 47% still classify their work/life balance as poor or very poor. Many women still report not feeling they have an equal chance for upward mobility and over half report this (along with stress and burnout) to be the main reasons for wanting to leave their current employers.
What is driving this lack of satisfaction for women in the workplace?
For one, the working women of today are STRESSED! 46% would go as far as to report they feel BURNT OUT. And only 33% report taking time off work to take care of their mental health, with only 39% being comfortable disclosing their need for time to care for their mental health with their employers. These numbers tend to be even worse for women in minority groups, with 49% reporting burnout, and only 27% comfortable asking for time off due to mental health.
And it doesn’t get much better when you look at the reports on work-life balance, a major contributor to work-related stress. Despite the increased flexibility over the last year for remote or hybrid working schedules, work-life balance continues to be a challenge, especially for women. It seems flexible work schedules are either not offered, not encouraged, or not supported by as many employers as it may seem. Only 22% of women report that their employer has offered flexibility when it comes to where and when they work. Only 26% who were offered flexible options felt they actually had a clear understanding of their employer’s expectations of what was expected of them now. 90% of women feel that even if they were to be granted flexibility, their workload would not be adjusted accordingly, only causing further stress. And 94% of women believe requesting flexibility from their employer would negatively affect their chances for upward mobility. Overall, 47% of working women today rate their work-life balance as poor or very poor.
A lack of inclusivity seems to be a player here as well. 59% of women (up from 53% in 2021) report experiencing non-inclusive behaviors at work. Hybrid schedules seem to be the worst when it comes to inclusivity, with 58% of women reporting feeling excluded compared to only 36% of women reporting the same while working fully remote. And 75% of hybrid workers report feeling burnt out compared to the 46% that reported the same while fully remote. Deloitte explained a possible reasoning for this stating, “Hybrid working is also not delivering the predictability that many women—including those with caregiving responsibilities— seek. Sixty-four percent of hybrid workers indicate their employer hasn’t set clear expectations around where and how they’re expected to work.”
So what can be done? With their insight, Deloitte has a couple of suggestions.
- Address the Burnout epidemic
- Make mental health a priority in the workplace
- Consider flexible work options for woman
- Work on instilling a truly INCLUSIVE work culture
- Assess and address the challenges of the hybrid work arrangement