Author: University of Toronto - Rotman School of Management
Author Contact: rotman.utoronto.ca
Published: 10th Nov 2022
Peer-Reviewed Publication: Yes
Additional References: Gender Equality Publications
Summary: A new report from Institute for Gender and the Economy looks at remote work, the pursuit of equality, and the future of work.
Remote work, also called work from home (WFH), work from anywhere, telework, remote job, mobile work, and distance work is an employment arrangement in which employees do not commute to a central place of work, such as an office building, warehouse, or retail store. Instead, work can be accomplished in the home, such as in a study, a small office/home office, and/or a telecentre. A company where all workers perform remote work is a distributed company.
The shift to remote working in March 2020 caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has raised many questions about the future of work. A new report looks at who has benefited from remote and hybrid work models and what organizations and governments can do to ensure those currently disadvantaged by the current models can also help.
The Institute for Gender and the Economy (GATE) report at the University of Toronto's Rotman School of Management says that remote work and hybrid models have improved many workers' lives. Still, they have also been associated with career penalties, work-family conflict, higher stress, and other mental health challenges-particularly for those who already experience inequity. Many of these disadvantages come not from anything inherent in remote work but because of bias, stereotypes, and social norms surrounding paid and unpaid work.
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The report found that the ability to work remotely disproportionately belongs to higher-income, white-collar workers who are predominantly white and male.
Those with poor access to housing and high-speed internet or who experience unsafe situations such as domestic violence cannot readily work remotely.
Primary caregivers, who tend to be women, may particularly experience an erosion of boundaries between work and care responsibilities while working from home, leading to an unsustainable amount of paid and unpaid work.
For others, working remotely increases economic opportunity by allowing caregivers to remain in the workforce and allowing workers to move to less expensive regions. However, women and racialized people tend to experience disproportionate stigma and bias for using them, resulting in significant career penalties such as wage reductions and fewer promotions.
Such issues with working remotely suggest the need for remote-work policies that support equity and well-being and aim to mitigate bias and other structural disadvantages for remote workers.
Public policies such as affordable childcare, adequate paid family leave, and a range of options for flexible work can facilitate more egalitarian relationships and households.
Both workers and organizations benefit from policies that remove the stigma of remote work because it increases worker motivation and job performance.
Flexible work stigma can also be reduced by ensuring information is accessible online and creating team-building opportunities for hybrid- and remote-working employees.
Organizational initiatives can decrease work-family conflict by ensuring reliable and consistent communication to all employees, establishing that workers know they do not have to work longer hours at home, and eliminating employee monitoring.
The report was written by; Kim de Laat, an assistant professor of organization and human behavior at the University of Waterloo's Stratford School of Interaction Design and Business and a former postdoctoral fellow at GATE; Carmina Ravanera, a senior research associate at GATE; and, Sarah Kaplan, Distinguished Professor of Gender & the Economy, and Professor of Strategic Management, and director of GATE.
Pursuit of Equality and Remote Work | University of Toronto - Rotman School of Management (rotman.utoronto.ca). SexualDiversity.org makes no warranties or representations in connection therewith. Content may have been edited for style, clarity or length.
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• (APA): University of Toronto - Rotman School of Management. (2022, November 10). Pursuit of Equality and Remote Work. SexualDiversity.org. Retrieved September 23, 2023 from www.sexualdiversity.org/discrimination/equality/1074.php
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