Women employees facing post-pandemic ‘burn out’, research finds

In addition, 19% of women were concerned about gender pay gap widening, compared to just 3% of men

O2 is urging employers to “ramp up” their focus on women’s wellbeing after YouGov research revealed that female employees are worried about “burn-out”, with 41% citing it as a professional concern over the next one to three years. 

It comes as women face a number of “unrelenting pressures and concerns” which will have intensified this year, according to O2. 

It cited the pandemic, caring duties and additional household responsibilities as points of contention, with 24% of those surveyed stating that women are “taking on more than men” in their households.

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Stress and coping with additional care and family responsibilities have also contributed to employees needing to take reduced hours, with 18% of women and 14% of men taking reduced hours at points since the outbreak of the pandemic. 

According to the survey, the long-term impact of this “looks set to differ” due to gender, with only 16% of women feeling ‘very likely’ to return to full hours within the next two years, compared to 51% of men.

Nonetheless, O2 noted that workplaces appear to be “stepping up” to provide vital support, with 64% of women feeling well supported when it comes to flexible working, and 46% feeling well provided for when it comes to mental health and wellbeing provision. 

Some 19% of women were concerned about gender pay gap widening, compared to just 3% of men, however, showing there is “still work to be done to engage a greater sense of allyship around the conversations and actions needed to ensure gender equality in the workplace”.

Catherine Leaver, O2’s HR Director, said: “Moments like International Women’s Day are important to take stock and reflect on progress – but more importantly to take action. The pandemic has clearly created additional pressures and challenges, disproportionately affecting women as well as ethnic minorities and those under 30. 

“It’s vital as HR leaders that we look at what can be done to accelerate women’s success and wellbeing in the workplace moving forwards.”

Clare Bliss, co-chair of the O2 Women’s Network, said: “As a network, we champion what our members feel is most important to them, and we’re incredibly proud to be hosting a series of important discussions and training sessions this week. 

“These research findings highlight a number of important challenges facing women in the modern workplace, from burn-out culture to the ensuring work life balance, and we know that coming together to talk through these issues is often the best way to surface solutions and take action.”

Vanessa Kilburn, co-chair of the O2 Women’s Network, added: “This year’s International Women’s Day theme is “Choose to Challenge” – an incredibly important reminder for us all to continue collectively championing women’s rights in the workplace and beyond, and call out gender bias and inequality when we see it.”

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