I’m a Tree, I Can Bend
In the midst of this global pandemic, women have pulled back the curtain and shown the world who we really are, and all that we really do. And the pandemic has also shown that the responsibility of duties in the home has shifted even more so to the women. For a single mom, like me, juggling older teens leaving the nest, and older parents requiring more attention, flexible working conditions from home make the need to earn a living, a desirable benefit beyond the pandemic.
Recently, Leslie Lopez, Meteorologist on KABC here in Los Angeles, had a moment where her newly mobile toddler walked over and grabbed her leg during her at home broadcast. We women have known for a long time we are nothing if not flexible. The pandemic has finally forced the media to show the true value of flexible working conditions which is kind of what we women, mothers, caregiving daughters have known for a while, bigger picture thinking is good for business. The importance of what happened during the KABC broadcast was that both Lisa and the Network, celebrated the fact that women were doing it all, instead of hiding it. This should be the new norm. Life happens, broadcasting from home has just put it on the screen for everyone to see.
If 2020 has taught us anything, it is that the entrepreneurial strategy of “pivot” and adapt, have become the culture most desired in the new work from home environment.
But, working from home has also created opportunities for companies to diversify and find hidden assets, that include women returning to work, and create a more inclusive team. Geography is not an issue, and technology has enabled people to keep working. This year, I started working with a younger colleague, recently out of university, who is in the UK. We have an early morning meet-up to strategize branding and messaging for our organization. The early morning hour for me works with the later hour for her and the older and younger voices working together puts a more inclusive viewpoint on our messaging.
Working at home also means work at home. If you live in an old house like I do, that means things sometimes break, kids get sick, the dog needs some kind of attention, and it's always time for a walk. With flexible working conditions, the stress of having to “leave the office” to wait for the gas company to show up between 8 and 6 pm is gone.
Working from home facilitates a results-oriented culture rather than a task-oriented culture. It creates empathy, and bigger picture thinking; productivity and engagement are better.
But that is kind of what women are good at, it is kind of where we thrive best. When the pandemic is over, normal working conditions have the chance to be different. We have a chance to take what we have learned and continue to be flexible, adjust, and bend our thinking. The more successful organizations are the ones that are going to lead with empathy and come up with broader solutions that recognize the responsibilities of single women, older workers, parents, and caregivers that work for everyone.
Working from home is here to stay. It’s good for thinking, it’s good for business, it’s good for the economy, and it’s definitely good for the dog.
—About the Author
Lesley Holmes is the current Director of Development at AIM. Educated as a Gerontologist at the University of Southern California, she has contributed her expertise to several educational and arts nonprofits benefitting children, teens, and older adults in and around Los Angeles. Her work promotes, creative outlets, alternative therapies, music education, literacy, and food as a pathway to leading your best life.
Lesley is the Co-Creator and Co-Author of Dream Up Now, The Teen Journal for Creative Self Discovery. A lifelong chef and baker, Lesley is a Los Angeles native who enjoys early morning hikes in the Hollywood Hills.