There’s no doubt that the global pandemic has hit everyone’s way of working, however, it seems women have been be hit harder than their male counterparts.
One study by the Institute for Fiscal Studies and University College London reported that in households of two working partners, the majority of childcare and housework was being taken on by women, whereas another study discovered that those under 25 and women have been the most affected economically by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Andi Simon, a corporate anthropologist and author of the upcoming book Rethink: Smashing the Myths of Women in Business, says now is a time for us to be rethinking how the work/life balance really operates.
“The post-pandemic recovery is going to require clever, opportunistic innovations,” she says.
“We will see a great deal of rethinking going on about who is caring for children, how to balance the work/life load, and what work is going to be like in the future.”
She continues: ““It is time to ‘rethink’ what women can do and how we should enable them to do it. Our society needs it more than ever as we recover from this pandemic and restore the vitality of our economy and our cultures.”
Us women are nothing but resourceful though and if there’s one thing we can definitely do during this crisis, is support each other, so we’ve asked some female entrepreneurs what they think we can do to help each other through this work and economic crisis.
Andi believes that while we figure out how to navigate this new world, collaboration will be key for small businesses.
“For the post-pandemic period, we expect to watch a lot of collaboration as people try to figure out how to restore their ‘new normal,’” she says.
“It is more difficult for a command and control style of leadership to build trust when there is limited certainty about the right thing to do.”
What you can do: Reach other to other local businesses and see if there’s something you can work on together that could boost both of your incomes.
If you’ve got a team that you manage, now’s the time to get their input. This is a whole new world and the more opinions and views you can gather, the more likely you are to get out of this relatively unscathed.
2 Engage with businesses
Laura Cloke, a career fulfilment coach, says that while the pandemic has affected all of our finances, you don’t have to just support them financially.
“Even if you can’t afford to buy from a business at the moment because times are tough for you, there are still plenty of things you can do to help,” she says.
“Signing up to a newsletter, engaging with social media content or recommending people to your friends and family all help a business to get their name out there. As a coach, a large proportion of my clients come to me through a word of mouth recommendation so it can be really powerful.”
Pippa Jackson, a freelance content specialist, agrees that this kind of support can be really impactful during a scary time like this.
“Lift each other up,” she says. “You may not need their products or services yourself, but somebody that you know may do. Share their business details and social posts with your network. Recommend them to relevant people.
“We are facing unusual, and sometimes scary, times so it really helps to feel supported and encouraged by other women in business.”
What you can do: As well as engaging with a brand on social media or recommending them to a friend, write a review of your favourite local business. One report showed that 88% of people trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations, with 72% of those people saying they are more likely to trust – and therefore spend money with a brand – when they have a good review online.
3 Share your skills
When the crisis first hit, we were on all a path of self-preservation hit. The main thing to concentrate was on keeping ourselves, our family and our incomes healthy. However, now that things are going back to ‘normal’, now might be the time to reach out to others and share your knowledge.
Dipti Tait, a hypnotherapist, said she was keen to help others in her tribe, predominantly female hypnotherapists.
“I was one of the lucky ones with an established online practice, and I knew I was one of the very few whose business was still in-tact,” she says.
“Rather than working in isolation, I had a strong compulsion to help the others stay afloat because they were now part of my tribe. So, within a few days of lockdown, I began training all the other hypnotherapists on Zoom in how to quickly build an online business from scratch.
“In total, I trained over 200 hypnotherapists to expand their business into a virtual market.”
She says that in times of crisis, coming together is more important than ever and it’s good to see how you can help, rather than compete with, women who work in your area of expertise.
“Being a nomadic outsider is dangerous in times of adversity, so competitiveness goes out of the window and we all naturally begin to pull each other up with us because we realise there is more strength in a group of like-minded individuals.
“We begin to act like a virus to beat the virus.”
What you can do: Find someone to mentor. You don’t even have to run a business to do this. Since working from home became the new norm, other people who you work with may feel isolated and doubting themselves more than normal. Reach out to them, share your knowledge and help them get their mojo back!
4 Spend wisely
There’s no doubt a huge economic crisis is on its way. Thanks to the pandemic, many people have lost their job or had their salary reduced, so looking after the pennies is super important for us at the moment. Ironically though, the only way to improve the economy is if we’re all out there spending, so when do you need to spend, look hard at how you can help those businesses that have been affected the most.
“The beauty industry has 600,000 people working in it, the majority women and they have been so hard hit,” says Laura.
“Now that beauty salons are open, they are encouraging people to book a treatment, and if you can afford to, pay up front even if you don’t go to the appointment for a few weeks of months to help with cash flow.
“I love this as a way to support another woman in business.”
What you can do: As well as supporting local services such as hairdressers and beauty salons, ditch the mainstream corporate businesses to support your local ones, whether that’s the local-run butchers (instead of the supermarket) or buying your face masks from someone on Etsy.
While networking events may still have to be virtual for a while, there’s never been a more important time than now to get out there and meet other female business owners.
Pre-pandemic, these places were great to make new contacts and perhaps land new jobs, but now they have a deeper importance. Here’s a chance to get mental support and talk to other women who are going through what you are. They may have some great insights to share that can help you keep your business afloat, and you can provide them with valuable emotional support. It’s a win-win!
What you can do: Find a local networking event near you and if there isn’t one, start one. Hunt out some like-minded female business owners and set up weekly Zoom meetings. Alternatively, send out emails to owners of businesses you admire – it may be the start of a beautiful friendship.