By Lance Rosenzweig, CEO, Support.com
This Mother’s Day, I want to take some time to celebrate and thank all of the moms who work at Support.com. They are leaders inside the company and out, providing expertise and care to both our customers and their families. Moms, we are so grateful to have you as part of the Support.com team, and I hope you enjoy the celebration and appreciation you deserve with your loved ones this weekend.
In addition to recognizing the mothers at Support.com, I’d like to take this opportunity to highlight an important truth: all moms are working moms. The value of the unpaid work undertaken by women, including caring for family members, housework, and other chores, is estimated to be worth $10.9 trillion dollars annually in the United States alone—assuming that work is valued at the federal minimum wage. Women in the U.S. spend an average of four hours per day on unpaid work compared to men’s two and a half. Such disparities exist all over the world, but they are largest wherever women have the least flexibility to work in paid roles.
India has the widest unpaid labor gender gap in the world. Last Fall, India’s first-ever time use survey revealed that Indian women work over 10.5 hours total per day – but that an average of 84 percent of that time is unpaid. According to VJ Kambli, Support.com’s Head of India, this comes as no surprise.
“Conservative mindsets – the idea that women shouldn’t be out after dark, or that women should be at home caring for the family – are a big barrier to Indian women working outside the home,” she explains. “This is why it is crucial to bring more permanent work from home opportunities to India: home-based work could shift the needle toward more women participating in the workforce, empowering them and helping the household.”
In March of 2020, the New York Times estimated that the global unpaid labor gap between men and women could take more than a century to close. COVID19 has made that outlook worse, forcing women – especially mothers – out of the workforce at alarming rates. Even in the U.S., women’s workforce participation rates dropped to 1988 levels at the nadir of the pandemic shutdowns. Reversing this tide is going to take a concerted, systemic effort beyond any one organization, but there are steps companies can take to show the moms the true depth of their appreciation.
Here are three policies that Support.Com maintains with moms in mind:
1. Provide flexible work options.
According to a 2019 survey, 80 percent of women who have left the workforce after having a child would have remained if they had a work from home option. Half of them would have been willing to stay if they had more flexible hours. At Support.com, we offer both. Our staff is fully homesourced, and our experts have the ability to split shifts or work part time.
2. Give them the recognition they deserve.
Nearly half of women don’t feel as valued as their male colleagues. Employers must take steps to prove how much they value the mothers and other women within their organizations. At Support.com, we offer performance-based bonuses. That performance is measured through our proprietary employee engagement tool, ensuring that gender bias doesn’t creep into compensation. We also provide paid on-the-job training and tuition reimbursement, because professional development is worthy of recognition too.
3. Create space for personal connections.
Research from the Werklabs has found that women view their degree of social connectedness at work significantly more negatively than men, reporting feeling alone and unable to connect with co-workers during the pandemic. Being a parent can be socially isolating, especially right now. Support.com’s 20+ years of experience with home-based work has taught us the importance of building community among our teams, and led us to develop a cadence of weekly team meetings and a social interaction platform on our company intranet. These connections create opportunities for peer coaching, so working parents can help each other.
Mothers contribute so much to Support.Com—more than any ledger sheet will ever show. We will continue to strive to make this a parent-friendly workplace, and to provide opportunities for women around the globe, this Mother’s Day and every day that follows.