Despite COVID-19 pandemic: Women more productive than men – Survey

By Paneetha Ameresekere | Published: 2:00 AM Oct 30 2020

By Paneetha Ameresekere

Women were more likely to have reported increased productivity than men despite the COVID-19 pandemic, where over three-quarters of women reported the same or an increased level of productivity during the COVID-19 pandemic, compared to just over one-third of men, a survey said.

A survey conducted by the International Finance Corporation (IFC), which results were released yesterday (29) stated that some of the reasons given by the women captured in this survey included being able to better manage work and home responsibilities by working from home, coupled with not having to travel to work, an exercise which  was both time-consuming and stressful.

IFC, a World Bank adjunct aiding private sector development, covered 1,032 employees from across the 15 large companies, of whom 50 per cent were women and 50 per cent men, in this survey.

Of the 516 women that completed the survey, six per cent were in senior management, 21 per cent in middle management, 36 per cent were junior or senior executives and 37 per cent were operational staff. A similar breakdown applies for male respondents, with six per cent in senior management, 20 per cent middle management, 41 per cent junior or senior executives, and 24 per cent operational staff. The survey spanning a month was conducted from 22 June to 22 July.

“Men however, more likely to have reported reduced levels of productivity than women,” said IFC. Women were also more likely to report having worked from home during the curfew period (March-June), with 58 per cent of women having worked from home during this time, compared to 46 per cent of men, it added.

Nonetheless, 20 per cent of firms made employees redundant, though, the remaining 80 per cent do not plan to do so, said IFC. Those that experienced redundancies represent the conglomerate and garments sectors, captured in the survey.

“However, more than one-third of workers are also concerned about increased household expenses associated with working from home, such as increased Internet, phone or power bill,” the survey said. Nevertheless, with connectivity being the number one reason cited for low productivity, employers need to ensure their employees have access to both the hardware (laptops, phones. and other enabling physical technology), and software (Internet connections, phone connections, etc.) to enable them to effectively stay connected, the IFC report said.

Further, almost two-thirds of workers reported health and safety concerns, including access to personal protective equipment (PPE) and adequate social distancing measures, when asked about their return to the workplace.

Meanwhile, 60 per cent of companies have provided employees with transportation to get to and from work, while the remaining 40 per cent do not plan to do so. However, more than one-third of employees reported transportation to and from work as an area of concern for their return to work. Almost half of those workers who are concerned about transportation (or 19 per cent of all respondents) are employed by companies who report already having taken action to provide transportation, said IFC. 

By Paneetha Ameresekere | Published: 2:00 AM Oct 30 2020

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