Remote work has long been a topic of debate among business leaders. Some have championed it as a way to increase productivity and reduce costs, while others have been skeptical of its potential to disrupt traditional ways of working. Recently, Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan Chase, made headlines when he admitted in an interview with CNBC at the World Economic Forum in Davos that remote work can “help women,” given the caregiving duties that disproportionately fall upon them.
Research shows that Dimon is right. According to a recent study, nearly 8 in 10 men and women (77%) believe that the widespread adoption of remote work has created more opportunities for career advancement across gender lines. The 2022 Modern Workplace Report, conducted by Care.com and Mother Honestly, surveyed 1,000 employees who act as caregivers and 500 C-suite executives and human resource decision-makers. The study found that 66% of the workers surveyed reported being able to work from home more now than pre-pandemic. With only 32% of managers and 25% of employees saying that their companies require personnel in the office full-time, it is clear that remote work is proving to be sustainable and successful in many organizations. Additionally, the report found that over 75% of employees reported that their quality of life improved under hybrid and remote work schedules, with 58% of managers and 55% of workers saying that productivity is up. The new workplace norms are having a positive impact on women, as flexible work has led to more balance in household responsibilities, the report concludes.
As a highly experienced expert in the topic of remote work, I have consulted for numerous companies on the benefits and challenges of implementing remote work policies. In this article, I will provide specific examples of how remote work helps women, and how it has impacted companies in different industries.
Flexibility and work-life balance
One of the main advantages of remote work is the flexibility it offers. For women, who often bear the majority of caregiving responsibilities, the ability to work from home allows them to better balance their work and personal lives.
One of my clients, a large financial services company, implemented a remote work policy and saw an increase in the retention rate of female employees, who reported feeling more satisfied with their jobs and less stressed about balancing their responsibilities. This is because remote work allows employees to have more control over their work schedule, which can reduce the pressure of needing to be in the office at a certain time. This flexibility also makes it possible for women to take care of children, elderly parents, or other family members while still being able to work.
Reducing gender bias
Remote work also has the potential to reduce gender bias in the workplace. A mid-size IT services company implemented a remote work policy and saw a decrease in the number of discrimination and harassment complaints made by female employees.
This is because remote work can reduce the visibility of physical appearance and other personal characteristics, which can reduce the likelihood of being judged based on these factors. Remote work also allows for more objective evaluation of performance, which can help to reduce the unconscious biases that can influence the way managers perceive their employees.
Cognitive biases, or the unconscious assumptions and judgments that influence our thinking, play a significant role in the way we perceive remote work. The availability heuristic, for example, is the tendency to overestimate the likelihood of an event happening based on its availability in our memory. This cognitive bias can lead managers to believe that remote work is less productive because they have less visibility into their employees’ work.
However, a study conducted by the Stanford Graduate School of Business found that remote workers were more productive than their in-office counterparts. This is because remote work allows employees to focus on their work without the distractions of the office environment, and can also reduce the time and costs associated with commuting.
Remote work is a viable and necessary option for businesses, particularly in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. It offers flexibility and work-life balance for women, who often bear the majority of caregiving responsibilities. Additionally, remote work has the potential to reduce gender bias in the workplace and combat cognitive biases that can lead managers to believe that remote work is less productive. By embracing remote work, businesses can attract and retain talented female employees and be more inclusive and productive overall.
It is important to note that implementing remote work policy is not a one-size-fits-all solution, and it’s important for companies to tailor their policies to meet the specific needs of their employees and the nature of their work. Businesses should also have regular check-ins with their remote workers to ensure that they are well-equipped to work from home and that they are staying connected with their colleagues. The key is to strike a balance between providing employees with the flexibility they need while still maintaining a sense of cohesion and community within the organization.
Remote work is an essential tool that companies should consider using to create a more inclusive and productive workforce. With the right policies and support in place, remote work can help to reduce gender bias, improve work-life balance, and combat cognitive biases that can lead to misconceptions about remote work. Business leaders should seize the opportunity to embrace remote work and reap the many benefits it has to offer.
Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan Chase, has acknowledged that remote work has provided benefits for women and is likely to become a permanent feature of the workforce. He had previously been skeptical about the effectiveness of remote work Click To Tweet
Image credit: Liza Summer/Pexels
Lauded as “Office Whisperer” and “Hybrid Expert” by The New York Times, Dr. Gleb Tsipursky helps leaders use hybrid work to improve retention and productivity while cutting costs. He serves as the CEO of the boutique future-of-work consultancy Disaster Avoidance Experts. Dr. Gleb wrote the first book on returning to the office and leading hybrid teams after the pandemic, his best-seller Returning to the Office and Leading Hybrid and Remote Teams: A Manual on Benchmarking to Best Practices for Competitive Advantage (Intentional Insights, 2021). He authored seven books in total, and is best know for his global bestseller, Never Go With Your Gut: How Pioneering Leaders Make the Best Decisions and Avoid Business Disasters (Career Press, 2019). His cutting-edge thought leadership was featured in over 650 articles and 550 interviews in Harvard Business Review, Forbes, Inc. Magazine, USA Today, CBS News, Fox News, Time, Business Insider, Fortune, and elsewhere. His writing was translated into Chinese, Korean, German, Russian, Polish, Spanish, French, and other languages. His expertise comes from over 20 years of consulting, coaching, and speaking and training for Fortune 500 companies from Aflac to Xerox. It also comes from over 15 years in academia as a behavioral scientist, with 8 years as a lecturer at UNC-Chapel Hill and 7 years as a professor at Ohio State. A proud Ukrainian American, Dr. Gleb lives in Columbus, Ohio. In his free time, he makes sure to spend abundant quality time with his wife to avoid his personal life turning into a disaster. Contact him at Gleb[at]DisasterAvoidanceExperts[dot]com, follow him on LinkedIn @dr-gleb-tsipursky, Twitter @gleb_tsipursky, Instagram @dr_gleb_tsipursky, Facebook @DrGlebTsipursky, Medium @dr_gleb_tsipursky, YouTube, and RSS, and get a free copy of the Assessment on Dangerous Judgment Errors in the Workplace by signing up for the free Wise Decision Maker Course at https://disasteravoidanceexperts.com/newsletter/.