We Surveyed Thousands of Women — Here’s What They Have to Say About Flexible Work

Sponsored by Fairygodboss Inc.

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Photo courtesy of Canva/Fairygodboss Staff.

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June 23, 2024 at 12:32PM UTC

By now, you’ve probably seen the headlines — many companies are navigating the journey back to the office. For instance, Forbes reports a significant increase in workers returning to the office, with 49% of Manhattan office workers currently at the workplace on an average weekday, which is up from 38% in April.

And this return to the office doesn’t look the same for everyone. Some companies are mandating 100% in-office positions while others are looking for opportunities to blend remote work flexibility with on-site work. Others have remained committed to 100% remote options that became commonplace during the COVID-19 pandemic. As Gallup puts it, no matter your working style, “one thing is clear: We're not returning to the same workplace we left.”

Due to this rapidly changing world of work, we wanted to find out how professional women preferred to work in order to support our clients’ long-term remote work strategy. So, Fairygodboss surveyed the 1,700+ women who participated in our most recent Resume Drop event to ask about their preferences for remote work. Of those who responded, 

  • 56% of respondents shared their preference for Hybrid/Flexible, which we defined as a few days a week in the office.
  • 42% of respondents preferred remote-only work.
  • 2% of respondents preferred in-office-only work.

In fact, women’s remote preferences have remained fairly consistent since we started collecting this feedback in June 2022. Since June, we’ve surveyed over 7,800 women and only 3% of women surveyed wanted to return to an office full-time, whereas, 53% prefer hybrid/flexible, and 44% are looking for remote-only.

Women’s preference for some work flexibility is overwhelmingly apparent. 

So, what does this mean for employers? Our data suggests that companies aiming to engage, recruit, and retain women talent will find it beneficial to offer flexible, hybrid, and/or remote options in order to remain competitive and support their diversity hiring efforts. 

These findings align closely with other studies into how women prefer to work. For instance, McKinsey reports that only one in ten women wants to work fully on-site — in fact, remote and flexible working can be a top reason a woman candidate decides to join a company.

Hybrid and remote work styles, however, cannot be an afterthought. “Looking forward, all signs indicate that hybrid is fast becoming a new expectation of the workforce,” Gallup states. “Crafting an exceptional hybrid work experience will be worth it — if you put in the hard work to make it worth it.”

To learn more about creating a remote or hybrid workstyle that benefits all employees — and attracts women talent — check out these following articles. We also suggest reaching out to the Fairygodboss team to learn more about attracting talented women to your organization.

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