Remote Working is for Men, Too!
Remote working is not just for women anymore. In fact, there is a remote working gender gap – and it’s in favor of men.
Flexible work time was pioneered by women who wanted to balance their home and family life with their career. It only followed that working mothers and technology-savvy millennials would be the ones to remove the stigma associated with utilizing flex time, but it appears to be men advocating for the system.
“While working moms have led the fight for flex [time], we can’t assume that ours is the only way,” explained Jennifer Owens, editorial director of Working Mother Media. “We must ask men what they need to be the best employees and best fathers they can be, and how flex [time] can work for them as well.”
The Working Mother Research Institute recently ran a survey that showed nearly 80% of men have flexible work schedules and feel comfortable using it.
Women are less likely to work remotely due to a fear of being put on the ‘mommy track’. Meanwhile, men are using their flex time to achieve a better work-life balance – though not in the same way. In a recent study by the Boston College for Work & Family study, researchers found that only 10% of fathers reported working from home through official channels, meanwhile 50% did so informally.
Researchers believe the reason is due to the general work culture. America rewards employees for their presence in the office and working long hours, so men don’t want to be perceived as not working as hard.
Previously, the benefit of working from home was targeted towards parents of young children and caregivers. Telecommuting is seen by corporate leaders as a perk or a benefit, rather than an integral part of their business.
“Telework is not a perk and it’s certainly not just for moms and Gen Y,” said Cali Williams Yost, CEO of Flex+Strategy Group. “Rather, it’s an operational strategy. Think of it as anything less and organizations ignore what has become a vital part of their business and the way their people actually work.”
It is estimated that 3.1 million people consider their primary workplace their home, meanwhile 20 to 30 million Americans telecommute at least once a week.
How can companies remove the remote working stigma?
People who are able to telecommute are happier and more productive than workers restricted by imposed working schedules. Allowing staff to work remotely reduces costs, staff turnover, and absenteeism.
Companies need to develop a culture that encourages men and women to make use of work flexibility. Here are some tips on getting started:
- Transparency. Train employees on what remote working is and how it can be used. It’s not a day off but a change in office location. Use online tools that allow all staff to see project developments and collaborate remotely.
- Everyone in the company should know how to get in touch with remote workers and what the best medium for communication is for any questions that may arise.
- Performance. Research has shown that working more does not mean more productivity. Reward remote and in-office employees equally to show that working from home is not indicative of laziness, poor job performance, or a lack of dedication.
Business owners offering remote working will reap the benefits of dedicated and satisfied employees, and that can only be good for a company’s bottom line.