Male and Female Managers Have Vastly Different Remote Work Experiences: Limeade Report


Only 11% of female managers reported “extremely positive” well-being during the pandemic as compared to 42% of male managers.

With the onset of the pandemic, organizations suddenly found themselves facing the inadequacies of their wellness programs. A hard and objective look at these initiatives made them realize how most of their investments were not in line with what the employees needed, particularly during an unforeseen pandemic.

LimeadeOpens a new window has announced the release of its new study on employee care, Workplaces in Crisis: Employee Care Missing the MarkOpens a new window . The study’s purpose was to revisit the Limeade 2020 Employee Care Report from March and compare results with the pre-pandemic world. The report surveyed 1,000 employees (500 in manager roles and 500 in non-managerial roles) at companies with 500 employees or more.

To nobody’s surprise, the report found a considerable percentage of employees feeling burnt out (72%). While managers are seemingly addressing this, only around a little over half of the non-managerial workers (55%) think that their employers genuinely cared about their well-being.

Employees are worried. They need assurance from their employees in the form of information, communication, and suitable well-being programs. With the pandemic having been around since the past 7–8 months, employers are now wondering what they could have done better from the beginning. Well-being has been more tactical than strategic and more connected to market trends than what the employees truly wanted.

The Need for Better Employee Care and Gender-Specific Intervention

As per the study, 71% of the managers shared that they at least “somewhat agree” that one-on-one meetings with their direct reports have focused more on well-being, but only 33% of non-managerial workers said the same.

There is also a need to understand how the remote work situation has been different for men and women.

As per the data, male managers feel more comfortable requesting a well-being day off as compared to women. Also, only 11% of the female managers reported “extremely positive” well-being during the pandemic as compared to 42% of male managers.

This highlights three major emerging issues:

  1. The overall lack of focus on authentic care that employees value
  2. The absence of the right tools or resources for managers to support their team members during this phase
  3. The absence of provisions for employee care that address the different needs of female and male employees.

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Managing the Challenges in Employee Care

Each issue must be equally prioritized before it is magnified (for example, if we’re still facing a pandemic in the next year and remote work continues).

Identifying what employees value

If employees cannot feel cared for despite the current wellness programs, companies need to listen to their employees and understand what they truly value. Without that feedback, it isn’t easy to assess if the investments being made are useful. Conducting regular online surveys about wellness programs’ usage and collecting suggestions for improvement can allow companies to streamline their wellness programs.

Providing the right resources for managers

Managers feel that the conversations they are having with their employees are focused on well-being, but non-managerial employees don’t think so. This is a significant disconnect that indicates that perhaps the content or even tone of conversations happening virtually between a manager and team members are not what employees expect. This could be particularly true because most discussions are now online instead of in person. Training and sensitizing managers on how to have these conversations, focus more on listening, picking out cues in conversations, and gleaning information employees share about their well-being challenges is the need of the hour.

Planning for all genders

Data shows that the percentage of female managers feeling a higher degree of well-being is much lower than male managers. Clearly, there are issues in the background, creating higher pressure on women, such as more caregiving responsibilities or housework. The Mom Project also recently reported that working mothers experienced higher stress levels. A McKinsey and LeanIn.Org study found that more women are considering dropping out of the workforce.

While companies cannot address their female employees’ caregiving responsibilities entirely, they can provide support in the form of paid childcare support at home or babysitter expense reimbursements or even educational resources that employees’ children can access and keep busy with.

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Employee careOpens a new window is not just a matter of feeling compassion for employees. It involves action that stems from that compassion. Companies need to look beyond market trends to identify the unique well-being needs of their own workforce.