Often referred to as the female second shift, women still carry the primary burden of domestic duties and childcare in most heterosexual relationships. So, when the pandemic ushered in the era of hybrid work, many women saw the chance to have it all including work-life balance. And now that hybrid work is here to stay, studies show that women have a stronger preference for remote work than men. In one recent study of 30,000 college-educated Americans with young children, women indicated they want to work entirely from home almost 50% more than men. Similarly, a UK study showed that 69% of mothers want to work from home at least one day a week vs. 56% of fathers.

The last two years have proven that hybrid work has the potential to tackle some of the most challenging workplace equities including gender norms. After all, it was the historical lack of workplace flexibility that fueled the gender pay gap and streamed men and women into different careers with different prospects. Yet now that hybrid work is here to stay it could have exactly the opposite effect if not designed with inclusion in mind.

Much of corporate America still has a strong bias towards in office face time as a key indicator of productivity and success. This recent quote from Jamie Dimon, CEO of J.P. Morgan Chase that remote work “doesn’t work for those who want to hustle” says it all. After 18+ months of global all-inclusive Teams and Zoom calls, remote workers risk returning to being that forgotten voice at the end of the conference line as lockdowns and restrictions lift. With remote work preferred by women, the in-office presence could become predominantly male. And none of us want to return to 1950’s gender norms.

So how do we avoid creating a two-tier workforce of remote and in-office employees, each facing very different career and compensation prospects? It doesn’t have to happen if we design the hybrid workplace thoughtfully.

Here are some tips that we are finding helpful at Entrust:

  • Reimagine facilities and deploy technologies to support hybrid meetings and promote collaboration among in-office and remote participants.
  • Provide manager training on how to recognize in-office bias and avoid it, along with how to assess performance equitably and objectively regardless of employee location.
  • Implement HR oversight on pay raises, promotions and training opportunities that are afforded to remote and in-office employees.
  • Work closely with company employee resource groups to ensure the voices of underrepresented communities are being heard.
  • Actively monitor the employee experience through intentional survey data and on-going focus group sessions.

Our world has changed, and we need to change with it. Join our upcoming panel discussion in celebration of International Women’s Week to learn more about challenging gender norms in a virtual/hybrid world. Entrust is committed to being an inclusive employer, so if you’re looking for a new opportunity – remote, hybrid or in-office – consider us.