Ahead of International Women’s Day 2019, our office manager, Claire Coles, outlines some of the key ways Remerge supports female employees
“And this is where we keep the sanitary products…”
At this point in the new-starter tour, I like to lift the lid of the little woven basket in the bathroom with a flourish and reveal the tampons and pads nestled inside.
For almost two years I have been the Office Manager at Remerge - a role that encompasses everything from showing new starters where we hide the chocolate to organising summer BBQs. A key part of the first tour is making sure everyone knows where everything is so they feel comfortable to work. For women, that means you need to feel safe in the knowledge that unexpected surprises won’t end in disaster.
It is clear that women and men are equal and worthy of the same opportunities. But how do you go one step further to really demonstrate the value women represent to your company? How can you establish practices in a company that prioritise gender equality? Does it go beyond the bathroom freebies?
To succeed, there needs to be a recognition of the structural biases that stand in the way of women succeeding and a drive to try to remove as many of them as possible.
The Remerge founders are self-declared feminists and have always strived to weave inclusivity into the fabric of the company. So for them, providing tampons, a no-fuss work from home policy, and access to the company’s financial information is as important as providing a laptop and a high-speed internet connection.
Remerge recognises that family life can be hectic and unpredictable, so it offers working parents the flexibility to define their own working hours. I started off on a 30 hour week and after some time I realised I had the capacity for more work, but not between the usual working hours of 10 and 6 pm. On some days, for example, I needed to get my kids off to football and prepare dinner but would find myself with a spare few hours to work while they were at practice, at school, or in bed. Asking my manager was quick and simple: there was definitely enough work to fill the extra time and if I said I had capacity, he trusted that I would manage it.
The flexible work-from-home policy is not just limited to parents, it’s something every employee can enjoy. And the joys are many faceted - you can stay home to receive a package that is too heavy for you to carry home alone from the post office, or have a day in your pyjamas without having to explain that you’ve got menstrual cramps.
Women are significantly less likely to initiate salary negotiations than men. A recent survey by Glassdoor found that “68 per cent of women accepted the salary they were offered and did not negotiate”, compared to just 52% of men. A lack of company-wide transparency can be a key reason why women don’t feel comfortable negotiating.
Financial transparency means insights into lots of internal facts and figures, numbers and tables, forecasts and trends. It also means that you can see how much everyone earns. This means that employees can see how their pay compares to that of colleagues of the opposite sex, which encourages fairness and equality. It also allows you to understand the worth of different co-workers within the organisation and the value that they bring. You can also see what areas you could build on in order to provide more value to the company and increase your worth.
Finally, Remerge puts time and effort into creating a safe, comfortable, and supportive environment for its female employees to work in, with special consideration given to their particular needs.
We have a girls chat slack channel where members can post questions and share advice about local gynaecologists, gyms, spas, or simply ask to borrow a large suitcase off someone. We have a privacy room, perfect for taking a quick nap, doing some meditation, or having a little private cry - because we all need to once in a while. We have regular women’s health events, where we give and receive advice on everything from pelvic floor exercises to managing stress. And we look out for one another - there’s always someone on hand to give you a hug when things haven’t gone quite right. Building a community means providing space and time for this to happen.
“All you guys ever do is hug each other, I don’t know how you ever get any work done.” - A real quote from someone’s husband after our end of year party. It’s true, we are quite avid huggers, but during our last women’s health chat club we found out how to take them to the next level. Someone had read that your hug needs to be at least 20 seconds long in order to get that essential rush of oxytocin. So giggling, we all found someone to love and hugged each other tighter and for longer. It felt good.
The above are just some examples of how Remerge is trying to remove structural biases that can inhibit women from succeeding. Of course, there’s still a lot of work to be done, but we’re proud of the little steps we are taking every day towards the goal of ultimate gender equality in the workplace.
Would you like to work at a company that prioritises gender equality and hugs? Check out our job openings today.
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©Remerge GmbH, 2018