"Will flexible working benefit women long-term?" Victoria Clarke Brown CDir, IoD South Yorkshire

Victoria Clarke Brown is a Chartered Director, a qualified accountant working with global organisations and chair of our South Yorkshire branch. She believes that the move towards remote working should benefit women – as long as men step up.

“Potentially I think the long-term impact of the change in working practices instigated by the pandemic will be positive for women in business. Employers are now much more accepting of the benefits of homeworking and recognise that employees working from home are not, in fact, sat around watching Loose Women.

Covid-19 created a burning platform so we are now all using better connective technology which has made remote working more efficient, effective and productive. How women have balanced home and work life during the pandemic has proven our ability to ‘get stuff done’. Moving forward we should see employers putting a greater emphasis on productivity and outputs rather than how long someone has spent sat in front of a computer or in an office.

Women are still the members of the family most likely to take on caring roles; whether that’s looking after children, elderly relatives or pets. This balance needs to change and if we are all working from home more, there will be less excuses about how we share these roles. Society’s expectations of women need to change, and flexible working can help that happen.

There is a potential danger that women in particular circumstances may find it difficult to escape their additional responsibilities to focus on the job at hand if they are always working at home. There is a balance to be found between home and office; but I think that’s true for all of us.

Of course, I would like to see more women members of the IoD and to achieve that, we need to get more women on boards. This means giving more support to women as they progress up the career ladder and not losing talented women when they take a break to have children. I hope increased flexibility in how, where and when we work will help women find the right balance between the demands of career and family.”

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