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Blog #7 - Is Furlough creating indirect discrimination?

I am now in week 5 of lockdown shielding and moving through my own change curve, I think I am entering stage 3 on the curve - Direction, looking forward, not backwards, which is normally a nice space to be in.

With that said, the exploring stage is not as rosy as I thought it would be. When looking at the future and contemplating the impact that Covid-19 may be having on the population, a number of inequality points have cropped up. When talking to my clients there appears to be an alarming fact that the female workforce in many sectors and regional locations are again being indirectly discriminated against due to the measures being put in place to help combat the spread of this bloody awful pandemic. Now I am not saying it is the businesses themselves directing this but the situation & measures we are having to deal with. If we are not careful as business leaders we could end up losing some of our greatest employees.

Furlough at 80% - it's most likely the best and most appropriate scheme and certainly better than mass redundancies, however of those roles in organisations already with a disappointing gender pay gaps, inequality or lack of inclusive leadership will, if not careful, fall into this unhelpful hole. Adding to those who have the inability to participate in the career enhancement activities from home such as using spare time for personal learning, exacerbates the possible significant longer term impacts.

But it isn't too late, as a leader please make sure you continue to view decision making through many lenses including diversity, equality and inclusion. As a manager, please appreciate agile working routines. Could a split working day work for those sharing home schooling? Could it even benefit your business productivity if some team members only worked evenings and weekends? As an individual, you play a key role too, be honest and open with your employer, remain committed to your career and make a personal plan of how you will continue to juggle! Everyone, reach out for help and support from others, do not be too proud to ask.

To get you started why not try some of these...

- When making a decision on who to furlough look at work and roles, not people ensure that you consider transferable skills and abilities.

- When looking at performance and output, think also about effort. Effort is very underrated and often overlooked as an essential component. Innovation is often born out of effort and a drive to get there in the end by overcoming challenges.

- If you think you have made your decision, check you have used a problem solving or brainstorming technique such as 'Six Hats' - you may surprise yourself.

If you feel that having an external perspective or support you be valuable then give me a call on 07743 856083.


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