Work From Home: Remote Work Could Advance or Set Back Equality | Bloomberg Business Week

Workforce Trends

The remote-work (RW) trend continues to prompt discussion on the extent to which RW will prevail in a post-pandemic world. And while RW will be limited in many cases (e.g., over half the workforce has limited or no opportunities to work remotely), various data points suggest that there will be a segment of workers and firms for which this work arrangement will be employed on a larger scale. As firms think about their RW plans, this article highlights how remote work can inadvertently impede diversity initiatives and intensify office biases if not managed carefully. It notes that “those who tend to work in remote-friendly fields are more likely to be White and Asian, higher-paid, and more educated,” –suggesting that it opens opportunities for select groups. Another concern is that RW can widen inequality by reducing opportunities to network, get sponsors and mentors, and land assignments that lead to promotions. And if women disproportionately work remotely over men, as one example, RW could exacerbate bias towards women – where an “out of sight out mind” mentality takes hold. Firms will need to consider these factors to realize RW’s potential while minimizing risks.

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