ILO/SCOPE Study report on Impact of WfH on Women Executives and Managers in PSEs in India

This joint report highlights outcomes of the study on impact of working from home (WfH) held with women executives and managers working with Public Sector Enterprises in India

COVID-19 evidently contagious in nature, to limit its spread, and to keep the business operations going, employers across the world, opted and rolled out a work from home (WfH) arrangement for their employees. This was a switch from the prevailing work arrangements.

Like all other big or small companies in India or globally, the Public Sector Enterprises (PSEs) in India too made a shift, and adopted the WfH model, bringing in a new dimension to the workplace culture of PSEs.

SCOPE-ILO's previous study on 'Women in Leadership and Management in Public Sector Undertakings in India' (2018) focused on hindering and influential factors that contribute to women's career development and advancement to managerial and leadership positions. With COVID-19 being the catalyst in adopting WfH arrangement, it was prudent to revisit the same set of women executives (i.e. E4-E9 Level) in PSEs who were part of the previous study to ascertain their views on its advantages and challenges. Thus, a research exercise was undertaken.

The study notably touched upon the impact of WfH on Women Executives and Managers in the PSUs from three angles – Woman as an Employee, Woman as a Manager/ Supervisor and Woman as a Home Maker. It involved a survey, focused group discussion, and interviewing company decision- makers as Key Informant Interviews (KIIs). The study has been a great success with over 1900 Women Executives participating in the survey from 50 SCOPE member organizations. Along with it, 78 Key informant interviews were conducted in 22 select PSEs that included CMDs and Heads of HR.

The study findings brought to light a number of issues, followed by a set of recommendations streamlined into guidelines for gender sensitive work from home policy in PSEs.