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Sri Lanka female workers more productive, stressed during Covid-19 work-from-home : IFC

ECONOMYNEXT – About 75 per cent of female respondents had said they were equally or more productive during Coronavirus work-from-home as pre-Covid while two-thirds of men said they were more productive, a survey by Washington based International Finance Corporation has found.

But female workers were more likely to have been re-assigned and faced stress.

“..[F]emale employees were more likely to have experienced increased hours, remote working, a change in job role or to have been re-allocated to a different business unit or work location,” the IFC said.

“Moreover, female employees faced the greatest stress in terms of meeting increased electricity and other utility bills, compared to their male counterparts.”

About 32 per cent of men and 28 per cent of women had said they got a lower salary.

Almost one-third of workers have reported they were less productive during the previous three months compared to pre-COVID-19, with men more likely to have reported reduced levels of productivity than women, the report showed.

According to the report, women were more productivity because they were able to better manage work and home responsibilities, while cutting the time and stress from commuting to work

“This may be due to the increased levels of flexibility employees experienced and a higher proportion of employees
working remotely or from home during COVID-19, which allowed women to better manage work and home responsibilities.”

However, internet and phone connection problems were the number one reason cited for lower productivity for both women and men.

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“COVID-19 has changed workplace dynamics radically. Among many other things, ‘working from home’ has become the new normal,” IFC Country Manager for Sri Lanka Amena Arif said.

“Our research shows that despite household responsibilities and additional hours of work, women have reported an increased level of productivity during this period as compared to men.

“We think that this new set up has allowed more women to better manage work and home fronts. This also presents an opportunity for employers to reassess certain company policies to best suit the needs of their employees.”

The survey was conducted by IFC’s Women In Work Program in Sri Lanka.

The survey is based on 15 Sri Lankan companies in banking and finance, fast-moving consumer goods, information technology, garments and manufacturing.

The surveyed companies employed more than 140,000 employees, including almost 85,000 women.

The report also revealed that almost two-thirds of 140,000 employees in Sri Lanka’s leading companies are struggling to meet personal and family financial obligations due to the impact of COVID-19. (Colombo/Oct29/2020-sb)

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