How Remote Work Helps Shatter the Glass Ceiling

glass ceiling

Why working for a distributed company can increase your opportunities for professional advancement – especially for women.

“Only 35% of women working in traditional office environments reported a promotion in the last year, while 57% of women working remotely reported the same.” – Ultimate Software’s 2019 State of Remote Work report

We asked Laurel, the COO of Yonder, to share her thoughts on remote work and female professionals.

Not surprisingly,
remote work is on the rise throughout the world. Choosing where you roll up your sleeves for the day includes a lot of perks, like arriving to the “office” in your jammies, clocking in as early or as late as you want, or logging in from a cafe. Yes, it can be just as relaxing and indulgent as you imagine it to be. But, it’s not just valuable for your ability to get your beauty rest. It can be equally as valuable for you to give your career the professional boost that you’ve been working so hard for.

Distributed companies are often based on a ROWE management strategy. This means leadership doesn’t care when or where you do your work, they care about your results. This doesn’t mean your boss will be insensitive (actually, most virtual companies have even better culture and relationships than co-located teams!). It does mean the barriers that have been supporting the glass ceiling are being hammered down. This is because the factors that contribute to discrimination are removed from your work environment.

Sound too good to be true? Here is a breakdown of how that ceiling becomes just a sky when your team is geographically dispersed:

Everyone wants flexibility, not just you.

Unwilling to relocate? Family responsibilities at home? Time off needed for hobbies? These aren’t sacrifices any more. They are standards. Almost everyone with a remote job is seeking a better work-life balance. Not only is it acceptable to take breaks, it’s celebrated. Trust me, no one will care when you tell your team you’re headed to the dentist at 2:00 pm, except to wish you luck.

Interaction is equal.

Didn’t get invited to lunch with the boss, or to the golf course with that big client? Good news: no one else did either. When you’re limited to virtual interaction, the playing field is levelled in terms of gender, race, religion, orientation, and physical limitations. You are just as capable of sending an email to that big fish as anyone else on your team, so go for it.

Evaluation is based on results, not time.

Managers have developed a reputation for being “head counters” because, in their mind, productivity means seeing heads in the cubicles around them. In reality, those heads might be focused on solitaire and Facebook. The future of work doesn’t include this loophole. We treat adults as responsible and self-disciplined individuals, so how many hours you spend in your chair is up to you. (Spoiler alert: It’s still usually around 40 per week.) Remote workers are able to work at their own pace and on their own schedule, as long as they meet their deadlines.

Salaries are based on industry averages.

Throw your salary discrimination complaints right out the window. In remote work, compensation is usually based on national averages. This is because Company A doesn’t want to change the compensation of Employee M based on the cost of living in the 10 countries they’ll be in that year. So the average is calculated, and… done. It’s as simple as that.

We often hear about the technological, economic, and sociological benefits of the future of work. We rarely hear about the impact on equality. What an incredible result to overlook! Women, or any other commonly prejudiced demographic, can now be empowered to choose the role, the company, and the lifestyle that matches their goals. This is regardless of their age, geographic location, or familial status. As long as you have (and are willing to develop) the skills it takes to be a great remote worker, you can have the freedom to excel in any professional role. And I hope that you do!

If you’re interested in transitioning to remote work, but have unique concerns or questions, visit YonderWith resources  including a podcastarticles, even one-on-one mentoring – they educate and support as you navigate into the future of work.

About the Author: Laurel Farrer works remotely from her new home in rural Connecticut so that she can balance her passion for business operations and event planning with her life of traveling, home improvement, and snuggling with her husband and two kids.