You might be tired of me saying it, so I will use this opportunity to point you to other voices on the topic.
We’ll start with the Make Work Better newsletter –
After a discussion about some research done on how having high test scores didn’t make much of a difference for people coming from poorer areas, due to a variety of factors in the UK, an important point comes out:
Flexible working is one step towards a solution here. One of the things that gets lost in the discussions about flexibility is the unexpected impact it has on diversity issues. If you want to recruit a richer mix of voices then allowing people to work from a broader catchment area has a huge impact on this.
This isn’t just a larger area, it’s also all the reasons that coming into your specific office location is more difficult for people even in the local area. Later in the issue, some numbers are pulled out about the cost of not remote working, things like spending 7% of a UK worker’s salary and one hour per day of their time just getting to work.
Is it any wonder that so many of us are willing to take a slightly lower salary in order to work flexibly? It costs us less. (That doesn’t even include work wardrobes, time spent getting ready, the time and cost of having food available at work versus simply grabbing what is in the house already, etc.)
Taking people working from home quite well and demanding they return to the office full-time is cutting their pay. Staying in this job becomes an extra expense for them.
And, yes, it’s true that having an office in Manhattan, for example, means you can only hire from the group of people who have already been in a position to live in the area or are privileged enough to be able to pay to move to the area. That leaves a whole lot of people out of your labor pool. If you are in a relatively small city, like where I live in Baton Rouge, you have a similar problem, your labor pool isn’t very large, especially for some niche positions. It might be quite difficult to find anyone with the experience you desire to take your position.
Widening the potential by making the work flexible opens up the opportunity for an ever-more diverse group.
Which brings us to another interesting discussion on LinkedIn –
As others have pointed out, it also harms dads who want to be deeply involved in their kids’ lives as well, but we all know the social norms dictate that the father gives that up to focus on work while the mother does the opposite. Working from home opens up the possibility of being involved with kids, and having a career. Eliminate all that time spent commuting, hassling with after-school, Summer Break, sick day childcare, and dealing with office politics, and you just became a massively more attractive place for moms, let alone all women and other people who would benefit from the job being something other than 8-5 in one, singular, location for everyone, every day.
Again, you broaden your labor pool, which broadens your diversity efforts. It’s not rocket science. The more “rules” you have in place, like a full-time return to office policy, the more people will find it difficult to work for you, and the smaller pool of candidates you’ll be choosing from.
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