For a couple of years now hybrid working has been a powerful resource to navigate the pandemic. LinkedIn reports 90% of businesses are planning to allow their employees to work from home, at least some days per week. Implementing hybrid work models is now a priority, and it’s urgent to understand the possible opportunities and challenges.
What’s new for women in hybrid work?
Hybrid work encourages more flexible working options. Many women report enthusiasm towards hybrid work models, and some advantages are easy to see: a good enough work-life balance, more control over time and a better management of family life.
These advantages are very tempting, and it’s plausible that women will be encouraged to join the workforce in companies with hybrid working positions: hybrid work seems to represent a massive opportunity for women’s inclusion. But is it really like so?
Disadvantages of hybrid working for women
We should be aware of some hidden challenges before accepting a hybrid work position. Research findings prove that a hybrid work model encourages power differences between those in the office and those at home, regardless of the gender. If the employee working at home is a woman, the disadvantage is even greater, and it may appear in different forms.
1. Assumptions about commitment
A Study on stereotypes show that women, especially if mothers, are seen as less committed to their work. This stereotype may be reinforced when women opt for a hybrid work model. In facts, no matter how hard we work at home: working remotely increases the chance of being seen as not committed and not competent. And it definitely does not make us visible to our managers.
2. Difficulty at networking
To pursue our career interests, we need to be visible to our peers and managers. Sharing our workplace everyday boosts our opportunities to network. This is way more important for women, as studies show it is more difficult for them to network and find nurture relationships with professionals ready to advocate for them. Moreover, it’ s harder for women who work from home to create these network and developing significant professional relationships.
3. Lack of communication
Communication is key in every human relationship, including our working relationships. Being familiar with our colleagues helps us being part of their lives and more attuned to them, other than helping us keeping our communication channels wide open. On the other hand, the less we know our colleagues, the less we feel like raising our hands and expressing our genuine, useful opinion.
Ilaria Brusa - PWN Milan Content Creator