By Crystal M. Brown, APR
I started working remote in 2018. After spending a decade in an office, I found myself setting up my workspace just 10 feet from my bedroom. That was only three years ago, but remote roles were few and far between.
Then 2020 happened, and the pandemic sent #WFH trending. More than a year later, we have widespread vaccine availability in the United States and a rise in those who are inoculated.
As conversations arise regarding the return to office, employers should consider the importance of remote options as key to supporting diversity, equity, and inclusion. Particularly for women.
We hear a lot about how work/life balance can benefit from working remote for good reason, considering how working remote contributes to employee happiness and, in turn, retention. But for me, working remote is just as important to my professional mobility as it is to my work/life balance.
Remote Flexibility Amplifies Professional Mobility
The old adage is true, it’s all about location, location, location.
Remote options offer flexibility in location, especially for those who are fully remote when it comes to professional mobility, which is the movement and progression of an employee across levels, roles, and even industries. It is easier to make the jump from one role to another, one function to another, one industry to another. We no longer have to wait until that one role we want is open because it is the only one that we are interested in within in our physical radius. We can make those lateral and vertical moves today, saving us from complacency and maximizing our precious time.
I have heard so many stories of women turning down opportunities for personal reasons (usually because their partner’s work would not allow them to relocate). To illustrate, I once heard from an executive who had offered an open C-suite role to three different women who all turned it down because they were unable to move due to their partner’s work. Ultimately, the role went to the fourth person asked, a man. In an ironic twist, he was not required to relocate; they allowed him to telecommute (which is another conversation).
Today, I mentor women who are in their early 20s and already positioning for a career in the virtual world. They are looking long term and know they want to have both a fulfilling career and personal life and they recognize that one of the best ways to do that is with remote work. They are literally furthering career growth through flexibility and work/life balance for themselves.
These examples speak to the point that companies that offer remote options will not only have a greater pool of skilled talent, they will also achieve higher success with their DEI goals. They also demonstrate why it is important for employees to continue to advocate for remote work.
Remote flexibility is a critical opportunity for gaining momentum in professional mobility and advancement for women. One thing is certain: the pandemic challenged the traditional American work culture. If there was ever a time for change, it is now.
Crystal M. Brown
Crystal M. Brown (she/her) is a communications and marketing leader, and partner for global companies. Her career of more than a decade spans the industries of engineering, construction, manufacturing, and retail. She holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of Oklahoma and is Accredited in Public Relations.