Flexible work arrangements can be an essential way for many people to balance work and family demands, despite recent news that Yahoo, Best Buy, Zappos, and Bank of America would eliminate or restrict telecommuting. Discussion often focuses on how women, especially mothers, use flexibility, but a new survey by Catalyst shows that men work flexibly throughout their careers, too.
Catalyst surveyed 726 MBA graduates, male and female, who work full-time in different industries, both for-profit and not-for-profit organizations. Asked about their experience with flexible work arrangements, 81 percent said their employer offers some, including telecommuting, flex time (flexibility in when work is conducted across the week), flexible arrival and departure times, compressed work weeks, job sharing, and reduced schedules. Half of the people surveyed said flexibility was very or extremely important to them.
Men and women did not differ significantly in their use of flex time, flexible arrival and departure time, job sharing, and compressed workweeks, according to Catalyst. Men, however, reported using telecommuting significantly less than women did (29 versus 39 percent). Further, men were almost twice as likely to say they had never telecommuted during their careers. Instead, flexible arrival and departure time was the favorite option for 64 percent of the men, followed by flex time for 30 percent of them. The report does not explain the telecommuting gender gap, though the men surveyed simply may not need work location flexibility if they have no children, a stay-at-home wife, or little responsibility for family matters--not to mention some guys just may avoid or not see home front duties.