Over half of female workers say that hybrid working has benefitted their career progression, according to a new study. In recent months some business leaders have suggested that women’s careers could be harmed by the shift to flexible working models, however this study paints a very different picture.
Over half (56%) agreed that hybrid working has benefitted their career progression. Three quarters (75%) added that hybrid working made them more productive, while the same number (76%) said it had improved their work-life balance.
In fact, 49% said that they would consider leaving their job if forced to work from the office five days a week, demonstrating the integral role hybrid working is now playing in people’s daily lives, finds the study by International Workplace Group (IWG), the provider of flexible and office space.
Other social benefits mentioned included two-fifths (38%) of women stating that hybrid working improved their mental health, and 56% agreeing that there was a greater distribution of household and childcare duties between them and their partner as a result of hybrid working.
There was also an emphasis on the financial benefits of hybrid working. Two thirds of respondents noted that saving both time (68%) and money (66%) from daily commutes into the office were key benefits. In addition, 17% of women added that they had been able to save more for house deposits thanks to their ability to work flexibly.
Demand for suburban and rural locations continues to accelerate as more people turn their backs on long daily commutes and instead chose to work flexibly in the heart of local communities, according to the study. Three quarters (75%) would like to have an office space within 15 minutes of their home, demonstrating that the days of regular commuting into a city center headquarters may be over.
In fact, companies are realising the benefits of the ‘hub and spoke’ model for office space, with workers splitting time between home, a local office and company HQ. Demand for IWG rural and suburban office space grew by 29% in 2021, with the locations such as Bromsgrove (+52%), Beaconsfield (+33%) and Tewkesbury (+22%) soaring in popularity.
Fatima Koning, Group Chief Commercial Officer at IWG, said: “Women tend to wear a lot of hats and they want to be the best version of themselves both at work and at home. That can be incredibly hard - but the hybrid shift is going to make a real difference.”
The pandemic has demonstrated that people can be just as productive when they split their time between home and work, and it has highlighted the enormous opportunity we have to improve working life. The hybrid model represents a critical opportunity to address existing inequalities at work and at home, with unprecedented potential to support women's wellbeing, family lives, and career aspirations. As for employers, there is a huge opportunity to hire and retain more female employees, Fatima adds.
In 2021 alone, IWG added over two million new customers to its global network of flexible workspaces, she adds.