What Greater Working Flexibility Means for Equality
February 9, 2017 | Categories: Healthy Living
According to The Bureau of Labor Statistics, about one third of American employees now work partially or completely from home. Millennials are increasingly avoiding 9-5 jobs and leaving positions after two or three years. They’re also generally more concerned about work-life balance than the previous generation, and willing to avoid opportunities or promotions at work if they cut into family life, according to research from Ernst and Young.
Evidently, the way we work and think about work is shifting.
The steady, years-long ascension to leadership within a company used to be an accepted professional path to follow, but that’s not a model designed for everyone–and it never has been. In the New York Times article How to Close a Gender Gap: Let Employees Control Their Schedules, a profile on the new employment search service for professional women, Werk, makes important commentary on gender roles and strict working schedules:
“The main reason for the gender gaps at work—why women are paid less, why they’re less likely to reach the top levels of companies…[is] employers’ expectation that people spend long hours at their desks…It’s especially difficult for women because they have disproportionate responsibility for caregiving,” the article reads.
Women in the U.S. still do a majority of caregiving, which means more pressure and vulnerability in the workplace. As the lawyer Annie Dean in the same NYTimes article quoted, “Nobody wants to be the female in the department who says, ‘My kid threw up on me this morning; I can’t come in.”
Services like Werk help women find jobs that allow them to work from home and have more control over their schedules. Right now the company restricts its applicant pool to highly skilled, educated women, but it could serve to teach other employers about the importance of such a setup for women—and for everyone else who seeks greater work flexibility. At the end of the day, if employers don’t meet their employees’ needs, they’ll lose access to talent. Therefore, flexibility is mutually beneficial.
If you work for a company that embraces working from home, you could be like the Focal team and work from a really cool workstation in your home office. We’re lucky to have a very accommodating work-from-home culture here (in fact, the whole crew is remote today to avoid the snowy roads in the Northeast).