The intricate and exhausting job of balancing work and being a parent during a pandemic can feel all the more challenging because most are doing it alone with their partners. A new campaign spearheaded by parents in the UK commercial real estate world seeks to uplift the stories of parents who are coping while keeping their heads above water work-wise, part of a larger push to increase diversity and inclusion within the industry.
Real Estate Balance has launched a support system and “buddy network” that will pair members to help them trade advice, commiserate and strengthen their professional networks. The event is open to anyone involved in human resources, including line managers, mentors and diversity teams, as well as parents themselves. Those interested can reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org to register.
“Managing the return to work after a period of parental leave or a career break is a critical issue for businesses,” Real Estate Balance Managing Director Sue Brown said. “It is a crossroads for many individuals and if the transition is handled badly, they could walk away, meaning all those years of investing in their talent is lost. It lies at the root of so many problems in our industry — the gender pay gap, women dropping out resulting in not enough women in senior roles, and failure to attract new talent into the supply stream.”
The initiative launches during a particularly precarious time for working parents, especially mothers. The coronavirus pandemic and school closures have stressed out working parents, and the demands of professional life and child care have led many working moms to leave the workforce. In the United States alone, 275,000 women left the workforce last month, according to NBC, far outweighing men who’ve left, a scenario experts believe will have long-term economic and productivity impacts on the nation’s economy.