Just one in 10 women working from home plan to return to office

Joseph B. Hash

Only one in 10 women working from home plan to return to the office, despite warnings from the Bank of England policymaker Catherine Mann that they risk damaging their careers by staying away.

A survey of female home workers for the Telegraph by the pollster FindOutNow also found that just 6pc believed they were missing out on opportunities because of the pandemic shift to remote working. 

Ms Mann said this week that being visible in the office is extremely important for career progress and suggested the changes risk creating a “two-track” workplace where those who are present get ahead more quickly. She suggested that women are likely to be the chief losers because of the pressure to care for children.

Tony Wilson, director of the Institute for Employment Studies, said: “There clearly must be risks that people working from home are treated as out of sight and out of mind if their managers and leaders continue to come in.

“The big thing we don’t know is whether managers and leaders will also be working at home and therefore will take other cues for who gets the interesting work and the opportunities, who they talk to.

“We can design good quality flexible work, but we haven’t done it very well in the past. If past experience for part-time workers and particularly women is anything to go by, there are clear risks.”

Men are slightly more likely to consider homeworking damaging to their careers, at 9pc compared to 6pc of women, according to FindOutNow.

Chris Holbrook, chief executive at the polling company, said: “Women seem intent to continue to work from home despite Catherine Mann’s warning.”

Abi Adams-Prassl, a co-founder of the Covid Inequality Project and academic at Oxford University, said: “One of the things that companies are going to have to be very cautious about is how they think about performance metrics and monitoring. 

“On the plus side, flexibility at work and permitting women who might face more domestic care constraints to actually get into good jobs is a kind of a positive.

“But if these jobs that are being created which are more flexible and have more working from home put you permanently on a different track, that’s problematic.”

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