Catherine French talks to Mary Quinn, Director Human Resources at Murgitroyd about adapting the business and how colleagues have gone above and beyond to support each other during the pandemic.
Statistics show that women have been disproportionally affected by the pandemic whether that be by being more likely to have been made redundant / on furlough or taking the lead with home-schooling whilst juggling work, whilst other statistics show that increased working from home and flexibility will allow for positive steps forward for women in work.
Now as we start making steps to move out of lockdown and towards ‘normality’, what do you think the lasting effects from the pandemic will be for women in IP?
I think this is a difficult one to answer as I do not have first hand knowledge of female colleagues having been disproportionately affected by the pandemic. It is still viewed that most women have the bulk of childcare/caring arrangements but from our experience there was a fairly even split of female/male colleagues needing adjusted hours over the period to help out over the various lockdowns.
Reflecting on the last 12 months, what have been the biggest challenges for you personally and what are the positives you would like to keep and take forward?
Understanding and managing conflicting advice e.g. don't wear masks/you must wear masks / who should isolate/quarantine and for how long. Keeping staff informed, reassured and supported particularly when staff members or their families were suffering from COVID, the speed of adapting to changes for the business closing, opening, closing etc. Positives have been the unity of our colleagues pulling together and helping each other, whether that's from a work perspective or socially on the virtual initiatives introduced over the past year, many of which will remain beyond the pandemic.
What piece of advice do you wish you could go back and give to yourself at the beginning of 2020?
Don't question everything and trust your instinct more even in the unknown.
As many firms are revaluating working environments, flexible working policies and benefits packages to ensure they’re relevant post-pandemic. What things do you feel make the biggest impact for women in the workplace?
Flexibility to actually work from home without guilt.
What is the thing you are most looking forward to doing once we’re finally in the ‘new normal’?
A sit down meal with friends in a lovely restaurant in town with a large glass of white wine and not having to fill out surveys on the pandemic.