Letter: Attitudes to women working from home may change forever

Letter: Attitudes to women working from home may change forever

Originally published at FT.com

The coronavirus-imposed work overhaul may well benefit working women in the long term. From my point of view, it has been interesting to witness an imposed and indiscriminate “working from home” arrangement. Usually thought to be preferred by working mothers, working from home has sometimes been stigmatised and labelled as the “mummy track”: a path corporate women might desire to take after having children. Today, women and men, chief executives and personal assistants, husbands and wives, have all been forced to work from home and, more importantly, to “make it work”.

Company executives and business leaders have hopefully experienced first-hand that excellent work can be achieved anywhere and that working from home does not equal work of lesser quality. On the contrary, productivity can be heightened by cutting commuting time and by avoiding unnecessary meetings.

Predictions estimate that the working structure post-Covid-19 will be forever changed. The greatest change, in fact, could be society’s attitude towards working from home. With its effectiveness proven and the stigma gone, both men and women could be recognised as being able to do their jobs confidently and effectively, wherever their desk is situated.

The greatest benefit, however, could be for women. With men recognising the value of working from home, women could more freely choose flexible working arrangements without any stigma attached to it. They could do this while maintaining a full-time job and more importantly, without losing traction in their careers. Women could very well win the race, from home or the office.

Barbara Judge
London SW1, UK