'Remote workers more likely to be men'

Men are much more likely to work remotely, whether homeworking or working from another location, than women, according to a major US study.

Men are much more likely to work remotely than women, according to a major US study.

The study by The Flex+Strategy Group/Work+Life Fit Inc. (FSG/WLF) found that women were much more likely to be office-based than men. It suggests around a third of US workers do most of their work away from their employer’s location, whether homeworking or working from another location, and says that nearly three out of four of those remote workers are men. 

FSG/WLF’s research shows the typical full-time remote worker is:

 - Not a woman: Among those that telework, 71 percent were men.

 - Not a parent

 - Not a millennial: There is no significant difference in the age groups of remote workers.

“Almost one-third of the work that gets done today gets done from home, coffee shops and other locations, yet too many corporate leaders treat telework as a disposable option, as in the case of Yahoo,” says Cali Williams Yost, CEO, Flex+Strategy Group. “Telework is not a perk and it’s certainly not just for mums and Gen Y. Rather, it’s an operational strategy. Think of it as anything less and organisations ignore what has become a vital part of their business and the way their people actually work.”

For those working in the office, 30% worked in a private office, 33% worked in an open office or a cub and women were almost twice as likely not to have a private office. 

Those who worked in open officers were the largest group reporting less work life flexibility now than at this time last year (42%) when compared to their remote and private office colleagues, and felt they had the least control over their work life flexibility. They were also significantly more likely to say they didn’t use or improve their work life flexibility because “it might hurt your career/others think you don’t work as hard” when compared to remote workers. Yost believes worries about a “mummy track” stigma may be one reason why fewer women work remotely.

Open office workers received the least amount of training to help them manage their work life flexibility. Remote workers (47%) were significantly more likely to receive such guidance compared to those in cubes/open spaces (35%).

“As organisations continue to squeeze more people into less square footage, they will be increasingly confronted with the limitations of open office plans and forced to accept that work life flexibility is a solution to where, when and how employees can get their work done with greater focus and performance,” Yost says. “Whether they work remotely or together on site, we need to help employees develop the critical skill set needed to manage their work life fit so they can successfully capture the best of collaborative and remote work environments.” 

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