Half of those who were employed before the pandemic are now working remotely. As company executives see excellent work being achieved with heightened productivity, a growing number of companies, including Facebook and Twitter, are announcing that they will allow employees to work remotely on a permanent basis. It’s tempting to think that such flexible work options will be a big equalizer for women. Many are hoping that by cutting commute time and the insidious ‘face time’ norms, women can maintain full-time jobs and avoid losing traction in their careers.
But before we declare victory, we need to consider some potential trip wires. Globally, the response of the state and economic sectors to the pandemic has been very gendered. For most women, working from home has reinforced the stereotype of men as providers and women as caregivers particularly for families with young children. While women continue to juggle personal and professional commitments, many men prefer to restrict themselves to their work desk. Women have also been victims to the “double burden syndrome” where they are now expected to double up on the home chores with increased workload from office, impacting their mental well-being.
This nudges us to evaluate the question - Is working from home really a boon for women?