top of page

Do women lose out in the hybrid workplace?

I recently spoke to the Director General of an influential, international association who was telling me how getting her employees back into the office was sometimes challenging, as several of them – especially women – believed themselves to be more productive at home and were pushing to retain their tele-working mode as it suited their lifestyle. It was interesting to hear her point of view: The employees may believe they were more productive working from home but from the organisation’s point of view this was clearly not the case.

She also pointed out that especially women ran the risk of losing touch with the work of the office and losing visibility and networking opportunities. Both are crucial for career progression and career development.,

A recent article in the Harvard Business Review by Martine Haas, Professor of Management at the Wharton School, underlines the same predicament. Current research shows that more women than men typically want to work fully or partly remotely. But hybrid working arrangements where employees who are in the same place, yet do not use the office space provided, end up backfiring: power differences are created, the tele-workers have less access to the latest info, they may be perceived as being less committed, they may not be able to make their voice heard as and when necessary, and they may lose out on mentorship and sponsorship, or simply put, on support for their career development. And, again, it is the women employees who will be most affected and lose out.

So, what should you watch out for, especially as a woman?

  • · Be aware of the potential risks you run and be active in addressing them

  • · Be in the office as much as you can, especially but not only for important meetings and make sure that colleagues know you are there

  • · Make the best use of your time in the office to connect, re-connect, find out what is going on and what plans are in the pipeline

  • · Speak up and get your voice heard

  • · Be pro-active about your career; find a mentor and/or sponsor

  • · Demonstrate your commitment, e.g. step up to a new project

Haas makes the valid point that the organization should also bear some responsibility to alleviate a potential disadvantage, and leaders should be aware of this and make space to include hybrid workers. But, in the final resort, it is the employee who needs to be pro-active, and your manager will thank you.

So, in the interests of a win-win situation - good for the organisation and good for you -, make sure you stay in touch, be visible, be accessible and available, spend time on building and strengthening your network to the good of your career.

14 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page