It has been well documented that women business owners and professionals are shouldering much more responsibility due to COVID-19. The personal and professional has collided for women and the time, energy and head space to run a business and/or career may also have been disrupted with local lockdowns and national restrictions.
Pre-COVID a working mother’s role although messy was more manageable. At best you could call on others for support and at worst you could buy in help. Now with social distancing and some households not being allowed to mix, as well running your business and/or career you are also dealing with frequent washing and ironing of clothes, disruptions to your working day from small or school aged children because of drop offs, pick-ups, homework and packing the school bag for the next day due to no or reduced childcare. Cooking three meals a day now that you are working from home and juggling the weekly shop and/or chores for yourself and elderly relatives who may fall under the category of ‘shielding’ may also be on your plate.
Although working from home is welcomed, for some women it may not be compatible with the brand image and identity that they want their business to convey. As ‘office politics’ has been replaced with ‘home space politics’, with some women working in the kitchen or bedroom while their partner camps out in the ‘home office’ from ’9-5’ as their job is deemed the greater priority.
With no end in sight women need to find ways to manage their business, health and wellbeing during these COVID times. The Institute of Small Business and Entrepreneurship Gender and Equality Network (@ISBEGEN) argues that during this pandemic there needs to be more gender specific support from government and employers to support working women. Whilst the policy lobbying continues, what could women be doing to manage their time and business?
- Take an honest appraisal of all the personal and professional work that you must do and then assign a realistic deal with it, ditch it or delegate it approach to each task and inform others that need to know what you are planning to do and where you need help.
- Carve out ‘me time’ and ‘fun time’ even if its 10 minutes a day. It is important to keep a sense of balance and perspective that you matter too.
- Stay in touch with family and friends so that you maintain and/or develop a support network
- Revise your business and personal goals and accept that they may take longer to achieve due to the added responsibilities and disruption of COVID-19.
- Get professional help and business support if you feel overwhelmed with how to manage your business during these choppy times.
- Be kind to yourself and remember you are one person doing your best in difficult unprecedented times.
What to know more?
Read ISBEGEN paper titled: ‘Stay Home’ and Work? Implications of COVID-19 and the UK Governmental Response for Self-Employed Women and join the conversation @ISBEGEN
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