Mothers Are Postponing the Return to Work. Amazon and Others Are Trying to Bring Them Back | The Wall Street Journal

Workforce Trends

The careers of many working mothers have been impacted by the pandemic, according to various reports. These impacts range from: working moms downshifting their careers or dropping out of the workforce entirely (LeanIn.Org report) to being less optimistic about their career prospects than before the pandemic (see Deloitte report). One reason the careers of many working mothers have been disproportionately impacted during the pandemic is that “working moms are more than 3x times as likely as fathers to be responsible for most of the housework and caregiving during the pandemic. Single mothers have faced even greater demands,” according to research highlighted by McKinsey. This Wall Street Journal article provides four strategies for firms to consider as they support working mothers in a post-pandemic workplace. 1) returnships, 2) advancement assistance for remote staffers, 3) targeted recruitment, and 4) expanded child-care help. Regarding #2, one concern is that working mothers who prefer to work remotely once the pandemic ends can lose access to company leaders and career opportunities. As an example of one company response, PricewaterhouseCoopers said it would monitor promotions, raises, and bonuses for remote and office-based staff to address this challenge. One recommendation I have is for firms to educate managers and leaders on proximity bias (PB) an incorrect assumption that workers in close physical proximity to their team and company leaders are better workers than their remote counterparts. PB can become even more problematic in a remote and hybrid work environment if left unaddressed.

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