Want to strengthen your virtual office? Hire women
Building a virtual workforce demands finding the most self-starting, dynamic employees who can adapt working styles to the lives they lead at home. Many professionals jump at the opportunity to budget their own time in a virtual office, and post results much higher than their counterparts in traditional offices. However, if you're stuck in a rut looking for fresh talent that will take your company to the next level, consider female candidates.
Earlier this year, a survey of 556 telecommuters conducted by Flex+Strategy Group found that three out of four "flex workers" are men. The gender gap in virtual offices could mark a window for entrepreneurs looking for an untapped talent pool. Given the option, men rate themselves as more productive working from remote, while women say they do the bulk of their work in an office space or cubicle.
It's possible, however, that competent female employees just haven't met the right telecommute yet, so greater opportunity could change the game.
In a different study by Catalyst, a professional women's advocacy group, women were shown to be significantly more "ambitious" in a flexible office arrangement. Eighty-three percent of women who worked remotely said their goal was to attain an executive-level position in their company, compared to 54 percent of women in traditional offices.
"The reality is that flexible work options give employees the opportunity to organize their personal and professional lives in the most convenient way for them," says Anna Beninger, senior associate in research at Catalyst. "When it's possible to work from anywhere, any time of day, this flex gives people the opportunity to lessen their stress levels."
The data shows how empowering women to design their own workflow can translate into broader professional empowerment in their fields.