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Omaha Magazine

Women in the 21st Century Workforce

Nov 22, 2017 11:57AM ● By Doug Schuring
Women represent one of the largest groups in the workplace today. Interestingly, traditional workplace policies and practices are not winning over the most talented women.

New research reveals creating flexible work policies and fostering a culture of transparency and collaboration can improve workplace satisfaction and performance.

Adaptable Work Policies

Flexibility is important to working parents, especially working mothers. Formalized policies, which remove uncertainty around flexible work conditions, are a great benefit. Too often, employers approach flexibility, parental leave, and communication expectations on a case-by-case basis. This results in employees fearing they will be slighted in some way by their managers or peers for choosing this route.

Companies should create procedures for employees to notify their managers and team of their core hours... the time they’re in the office or when they will be available. This system aligns employee and manager expectations of how to best ask for and adopt flexible procedures. Core hours/days are the framework for flexibility options. Ultimately, company cultures should value employees’ work output over time spent in the office.

Honesty and Collaboration

Women are also empowered by organizations that value collaboration and communication. Studies have shown that women, when taking time to listen to others, are often viewed as having a weak leadership style. Alternately, men who make decisions individually are viewed as being more decisive and competent.

Companies are showing that they value collaboration and communication by how they are arranging their workspaces. Panels are shorter, workstations are smaller, and open areas are growing in both size and number in the space. Gone are the maze of tall panels and oversized boardrooms. Workstations now adjust in height, have tables that can be grouped together for large group meetings or separated for small discussions, and training sessions to work on collaboration.

The Desired Workplace

Policies, places, and practices are changing to align with today’s new way of working. The leading companies today are creating improved workspaces and implementing more flexible practices that promote honesty and open communication. The best companies of tomorrow will understand how to empower the largest segment of their workforce, retain their talent, and most importantly—grow their bottom line.

This article appeared in the Winter 2018 issue of B2B.

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