Is working from home sexist and are we returning to the 1950’s housewife? By Laura Beales

Now that working from home has become a more widely accepted practice, could we be returning to the era of the 1950’s housewife - but with a modern twist?

A new MIT study found that half of those who were employed before the pandemic are now working remotely. Families have found themselves in the position where both parents are trying to work from the kitchen table, while also juggling regular housework, cooking, cleaning and caring for kids - all from the confines of their home. Is it possible that the lockdown is only perpetuating sexist gender roles at home?

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A recent analysis by Natcen in the UK from 2015 found that women are spending two if not three times on care and routine housework compared to men. In an ideal situation, these tasks would be split between both parents at home, but it appears to fall onto the shoulders of the woman the majority of the time. On top of this, The Conversation has found out that when mothers use flexible and remote working, they are more likely to face flexibility stigma than their male colleagues - the idea that they are less committed and less productive. While this new and flexible way of working provides an array of positives, it is clear that it is also shining a spotlight on gender-gap within our new workplace.

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It is evident that women are expected to take the brunt of the childcare and household task, while the man is responsible for being the main bread-winner. And, in a 2017 British Social Attitude Survey, two-thirds of respondents said that it is better for mothers to stay home or work part-time when the children are under school age. It is time that we steer away from this out-of-date idea and towards a path where men and women could meet in the middle. And, we believe we have the perfect solution.

How can Tally help?

Tally works as the perfect middle ground of working remotely but not in your own home. If your offices haven’t opened their doors yet, and with no prospect of when they might - Tally enables companies and their employees to choose to work outside of their own personal space. With cabin fever in full force, being provided with the option to commute to a remote working space such as a co-working office, local pub or cafe, this can really help productivity levels and help fight against presenteeism - the concept of an employee that is physically (or virtually) present at work, however, is not be able to carry out their duties, and therefore not fully performing tasks which lead them to make mistakes on the job.

Employers need to be realistic about working parents, and fully support employees wherever they feel that they will work best - either at home or in a remote working space.

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“Studies have shown that when gender norms are more progressive, flexible working is less likely to lead to traditional gender roles being reinforced” The Conversation explains. If more people work flexibly and working overtime is less prevalent in companies, then flexible working is also likely to result in better outcomes. Moving away from tradition is going to be the only way that we can get past the 1950’s gender roles and head into a modern co-sharing reality where both parents can take on household tasks. By opening discussions with your partner or employee about any concerns you may have will ultimately stride towards the goal of bringing about a better work-life balance for all.

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