May 13, 2021 - Economy

The gender divide in remote work

Illustration of an overhead view of many different hands and computers on small round tables

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Women prefer remote work at a higher rate than men, according to a new study by the jobs platform FlexJobs.

By the numbers: About 68% of women said their preferred post-pandemic workplace would be remote, compared with 57% of men. And 80% of women ranked remote work as a top job benefit, compared with 69% of men.

What's happening: Men and women identified with different perks of remote work.

  • 70% of women said not having to get dressed up for the office was a benefit, compared with 57% of men.
  • 60% of women enjoyed have more flexibility over their work schedules. And 48% of men said the same.

The big picture: While the pandemic has been tough on working women — particularly mothers — it has also started fresh workplace conversations about child care, a responsibility disproportionately taken on by women.

  • Firms across the country are adding new benefits to help working parents.
  • And a lot of mothers are starting to view telecommuting as a flexible way to make time for work and family after the pandemic is behind us.
  • "There’s just zero benefit in my mind now to return back into the office and give up all of those things that we gained over the past year," Angele Russell, a mom who works for a member of Congress, told the Washington Post.

But, but, but: If the return to the office is gendered, women could lose out on opportunities at work.

  • Most companies have held onto the in-person culture, and, even as hybrid work becomes more and more common, employees that stay home could fall out of sight and out of mind.
  • That could mean fewer promotions and salary increases for women if they disproportionately work remotely, and it could widen the gender wage gap.
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