This week in our WiCipedia roundup: Women in tech work from home and manage just about everything else; former and current employees of The Wing tell all; networking apps for professional women are flourishing; and more.
With COVID-19 completely upending the routines of our daily lives around the world, many parents – and especially women – are having to deal with the new reality of having their kids at home 24/7 for the foreseeable future. The New York Times published an article about how moms are tackling this challenge, especially when they are also working from home. Many parents have devised elaborate schedules and lists of activities for their little ones who are stuck at home and bored out of their minds, and some adults are being forced to scale back on work hours or take leaves of absence in order to prioritize their family obligations – a task that often falls on women's shoulders. It's also creating relationship stress, as parents often have to decide whose job is more important, so one parent can work while the other can manage the kids (if you are lucky enough to still have a job and be partnered). "It's like fighting about which movie you're going to watch but with your job and your ego and your mental wellness on the line," said one woman in tech who had hit her limit. (See WiCipedia: Nature vs. Nurture & the Moms at Work Dilemma.)
Yet the newfound ability to work from home is a boon for many, especially women and minorities. Fast Company explains that flexible work arrangements are a top priority for many workers, and having the option available undoubtedly leads to a more diverse workforce. While the reason why so many of us are staying home these days – COVID-19 and social distancing, in case you haven't turned on the news in weeks – isn't ideal, hopefully it will show companies that even when there's not a pandemic to be worried about, it is possible and even profitable for employees to successfully work from home. If employees can work from home, companies can expand their search for new hires geographically and also include those who have familial obligations such as caring for young children or aging parents. It opens up talent searches to those with disabilities who may have trouble commuting but can work a desk job just fine, and also eliminates hesitations that groups of minorities may have about fitting into tech's storied in-office work culture. Really, working from home is a win-win for all (except extroverts who are driving themselves crazy right about now!). (See WiCipedia: Why Women Leave Tech, Gen Z Wants to Disconnect & Aviation Equality.)
Plants and cats make better coworkers anyway
If only more home offices looked like this and less like a laptop on a dining room table...
The Wing, the private networking workspace for women located in several major cities, may be full of powerful women, alluring perks and "curvy pink interiors that recall the womb," but The New York Times reports that it may be "a total facade" to those who are actually involved in running the elusive club. Employees of the company have spoken out about the ways in which The Wing strategically goes about marketing and inter-office communications, and Vei Darling, a former employee, called it "'a toxic culture' of 'passive aggression,' 'disrespect' and 'fear of retribution'" and said Wing employees "don't get paid enough for our immense physical, intellectual and emotional labor." Other current and former employees had similar things to say about their experience working at The Wing, though they weren't comfortable using their names as they were afraid of breaking the non-disparagement clauses they had signed upon their hiring. One former employee said, "I was treated like a human kitty-litter box," while another said, "We were 'the help.'" For the full scoop, check out the article. (See WiCipedia: Private Groups Tackle Membership Guidelines & the New Richest Woman in Tech.)
While in-person networking events and meetups might be on hold for the time being, a new array of apps for women only aims to bridge the gap. AdWeek detailed the new apps on the scene, from Bumble's "Bizz" option to Ellevate Squads and more, all with the intent of connecting professional women to mentors, forming peer groups for support and generally leveling up on working woman girl-gang status. Research says that these connections pay off too: "Women who maintained centrality across groups and had an inner circle of one to three women landed jobs that were two and a half times higher in authority and pay versus average," the article explained about the findings of one study. So maybe you're stuck at home and your only coworker is your dog – don't despair! Online communities have never been stronger. (See WiCipedia: Fake it till you make it – the confidence edition.)
— Eryn Leavens, Special Features & Copy Editor, Light Reading