According to a 2021 census , women comprise nearly 40% of the Philippine labor force. This is no small number and yet, there are companies that have not updated their policies or programs to better accommodate the needs of women in the workplace.

While there are workplace equality initiatives such as seminars, campaigns, and helplines, they may not always be readily available or even sufficient. A workplace that supports women and their well-being means having round-the-clock programs and benefits, a proactive set of employee programs, and professional facilities management support for execution.

Below are some concrete suggestions that companies can adopt in order to reduce the stress women deal with and, in turn, provide a more holistic and productive work environment.

Mental Health Counseling and Support

Having mental health issues does not simply pertain to illnesses or disorders, but also to general mental well-being and stress.

Things that could cause distress for women in the workplace are harassment, unfair workloads, and lack of validation, to name a few. It can be difficult for women to come forward with these concerns, so having an in-house therapist or anonymous hotline would be ideal.

Reproductive Health Consultation

Everyone is entitled to whatever they choose to do behind closed doors, but it does come with risks. From sexually transmitted diseases or infections to missed periods or pregnancy, there are a multitude of things active women face that can be cause for concern. Providing reproductive health consultation, testing, and treatment will benefit both them and your business.

Paid Menstrual Leaves

It is an unavoidable fact that women have periods. During these, they may experience pains such as cramps and dysmenorrhea. These can be debilitating and make it difficult to focus or function well.

Powering through should not be the only option. Instead, consider providing a day or two of paid leave or the option to work from home to ease them of worry while they ease the pain. Companies such as Nuvento in the United States and Mobidobi in Australia have adopted this practice to both the benefit and relief of their female employees. It is also being practiced in some Asian countries such as Japan, South Korea, and Indonesia, and may well be on its way to becoming written into law in the Philippines.

Equal Pay and Promotion Opportunities

Work norms have shifted greatly over the decades and nearly every job can be accomplished by anyone, male or female. Despite this, many women still face the glass ceiling and often have to work harder in order to get recognized or gain equal footing. Instances of this include but are not limited to being excluded from important decision-making meetings, input and concerns being undermined, and not receiving the support or opportunities for upward mobility both financially and career-wise compared to their male peers. Leave the ceiling in the past and let women move onward and upward based on their merits and achievements.

Better Work Environment and Location

It has been proven time and time again that real estate contributes to health and wellbeing. As a business owner, your decisions on office leasing, office fit-out, and facilities management can also affect employee well-being. It isn’t enough to have a well-decorated office; it must also be accessible for employees in order to reduce travel time and increase safety. Inside, think about its design and how best to make use of the space, as well as the availability of facilities where employees can relax. These considerations help reduce stress and add to the overall employee experience.

Besides those listed, there are many other ways by which your office fit out can be better for your female employees. Sit down and listen to their concerns in order to get a better feel of the work environment and how things can be improved. Respect leads to results. And taking care of your company means taking care of your employees too.

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About Santos Knight Frank

The world of real estate can be a difficult place to navigate. Whether property is your investment or a tool that drives your business success, you need a partner who can guide you in every step of the way.

Since 1994, Santos Knight Frank has been guiding Fortune 1000 companies, BPOs, private clients, and institutions in all facets of real estate. We advise companies on their best office, retail, and industrial location, oversee commercial fit-out projects, and manage facilities. We have facilitated over 4 million sqm of office transactions on behalf of clients and managed over 40 million sqm of real estate under our property & facilities management arm.

Our residential brokerage platform and wide collection of bespoke homes allow our private clients to buy, lease, and sell properties within their budget, timeline, and lifestyle.

For landlords and investors, we provide valuations and appraisal, consultancy and research, sales and leasing, and property management services across the Philippines.

Santos Knight Frank is part of the global Knight Frank network of over 384 offices in 51 markets, including the strategically important U.S. partnerships with Cresa (commercial real estate) and Douglas Elliman (residential real estate).

We are locally expert and globally connected, end-to-end and best-in-class – as any great partner in property should be.