As some companies require workers to return to the office, including big names like Twitter and Apple, employers and employees alike sing the praises of remote work as an equalizer, productivity driver and way to maintain work-life balance, a recent survey found.
Working from home — or the doctor’s office, Grandma’s house or the vet — has countless benefits for those who are caregivers of seniors or children, according to the Nov. 3 results of a survey of 1,000 employee caregivers and 500 benefits decision makers by Care.com, a digital care marketplace, and Mother Honestly, a benefits platform.
Seventy-seven percent of employers and 76% of employees said remote work has improved quality of life; 77% of workers also said remote work has made career advancement opportunities more equitable. A little more than half of both employees and managers attributed an increase in productivity to working from home, the survey found.
“The most eye-opening thing is that remote work is leveling the playing field for men and women and really bridging those gender lines,” said Natalie Mayslich, consumer president of Care.com. “It’s probably the most progress we've seen for women in the past couple of decades.”
Women are able to work remotely and care for babies without needing to drop out of the workforce, said Blessing Adesiyan, founder and CEO of Mother Honestly. And men are contributing more at home, too, she said.
“If we can get more men to lean into care at home, we have a better chance of closing that gender equity gap faster,” Adesiyan said.
The next step, Adesiyan said, is for companies to offer benefits that support caregiving employees, such as childcare, elder care, pet care and housekeeping services. Workers already are seeing the benefit from flexible hours, more flexible time off and sick days and flexibility on deadlines, the survey found.
“Turning back the clock is going to be an uphill battle. We’re already seeing that for employers requiring employees to return to work,” Mayslich said. “If employers have not reached that ‘aha’ moment that this is the new normal, they will. Those that do will be the employers who win in the longer term.”
Survey results from ZipRecruiter released in October revealed that 60% of job seekers prefer remote positions, and 20% would only consider remote jobs. Among those respondents, women and minority groups were more likely to favor remote positions.