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Will the broad acceptance of working from home improve gender inequality in the workplace?

Many have reported that they are more satisfied working from home - they feel more productive and engaged and less stressed. The flexibility allows employees to meet targets whilst maintaining a work/life balance. Indeed, Facebook and Twitter have announced that their staff will be able to continue to work from home even after the pandemic subsides.

However, it remains unclear whether remote working will serve to close the gender wage gap or to promote more women into top roles. In fact, a recent United Nations study on the impact of COVID-19 on women warns that there is a risk the pandemic will reverse decades of progress concerning gender equality in the workforce.

By appreciating the burden of domestic responsibility and childcare considerations (which unduly impacts women in our society), creating a culture of fairness and collaboration, analysing data and focusing performance evaluations on output / targets met rather than 'presenteeism', this article explains that we can ensure the successes and benefits of working from home are available to both men and women alike.

It’s tempting to think that such flexible work options will be a big equalizer for women. Many are daring to hope that by removing the stigma attached to WFH, and by cutting commuting time and the insidious “face time” norms that can add hours to the workday, women can maintain full-time jobs and avoid losing traction in their careers during their caregiving years. hbr.org/...

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