Radha Davies, Director of Brand Communications and Creative at Sainsbury’s, said that during the peak of the pandemic she saw a shift of responsibilities in her personal life and in her professional career. With more individuals being at home, working off laptops, Davies said it became more visible how much work women were juggling between their home and office responsibilities.
“I think women started to ask a lot more of their partners, and that enabled men to take their fair share of responsibilities. That's been a really, really positive thing,” Davies said. “Flexible working that came out of the pandemic has also helped. I love seeing men on my team now taking time off to go to school plays or take their kids to a party. I do feel that shared responsibility that peaked during the pandemic has sustained.”
The pandemic brought a lot of changes to working conditions. Rania Robinson, CEO and Partner of agency Quiet Storm, said that with those changes, this has been a time for women working in the media and advertising industries to have tough conversations with their partners.
Several panel speakers touched on the importance of flexible working hours and the need for more solutions to help support workers as they continue to work in hybrid or remote environments. Robinson said that her team has been actively promoting flexible working.
As many people work longer hours, Robinson said that remembering to stay empathetic has been important in retaining workers and making a positive impact on employees.4
“Empathetic leadership became very important during the pandemic. And it’s not exclusive to women, but we do over index in those areas. This put female leadership at the forefront and created an opportunity for women leaders,” Robinson said. “But it also put a lot of pressure on female leaders to deliver on that type of leadership too.”
Deborah Joseph, the European Editorial Director of Glamour who moderated the panel, said it was important for women to remember to be kind to themselves too.
“At some point, you have to just be kind to yourself and just think, I'm doing the best I possibly can in the worst and most difficult circumstance. I saw my team’s setup, and some of them were living with housemates or crammed into a kitchen. They saw me and my ridiculous situation at home with my children and dogs. There is definitely an empathy there now that I don't think was there before,” Joseph said.