Flexible workers are overwhelmingly men

Feb 24 2014 by Brian Amble Print This Article

What is the profile of a "typical" remote worker? It might come as a surprise to learn that almost three-quarters of full-time remote workers in the US are men and that they are no more likely to be a Gen Y millennial than they are to belong to any other demographic group.

That, at least, is according to a new survey by Flex+Strategy Group/Work+Life Fit, Inc., which found overwhelming evidence that it is men who dominate the ranks of flexi-workers while women continue to put in their hours in at their employer's office.

The survey of more than 500 Americans in full-time employment found that almost a third (31 per cent) do most of their work away from their employer's location and that 71 per cent of these remote workers were men.

There was no significant difference in the age groups of remote workers, and they were no more or less likely than their office-bound colleagues to have children.

According to Cali Williams Yost, CEO of, Flex+Strategy Group, one reason that fewer women work remotely is that they are already afraid of the "mommy track" trap and fear that flexible working might hurt their careers more than it would male colleagues.

Yost also stressed that employers need to stop seeing flexible working as some sort of perk and start to realize its bottom-line benefits.

As previous research has found, flexible working is associated with definitive improvements in absenteeism rates, job commitment and employee health and brings with it significant improvements in critical business outcomes such as employee productivity, customer satisfaction, cycle time, and employee turnover. Indeed, as long ago as 2003, professional services giant Deloitte calculated that it had saved more than $40 million in employee turnover costs in one year based on the number of its staff who said they would have left if they were not able to work flexible hours.

"Telework is not a perk and it's certainly not just for moms and Gen Y," Yost added. "Rather, it's an operational strategy. Think of it as anything less and organizations ignore what has become a vital part of their business and the way their people actually work."

"Failure to understand how and where work gets done and by whom, and failure to support these operational strategies can compromise the performance and well-being of both organizations and employees," she said.