The year I was born, Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive” received the Grammy Award for Best Disco Recording. It was an anthem for jilted women everywhere.
The line “first I was afraid, I was petrified… women walking out the door… to survive,” was an empowerment message for women in the 80s and still is today!
Women desire flexibility above anything else and, according to Workfront’s latest research, The State of Enterprise Work Report, workers are enjoying a flexible work environment more than ever before, and foresee this will only continue to grow.
See our post "Your Workplace Has to Get Flexible or Die: 5 Reasons Why" for more on the rising importance of workplace flexibility.
According to the report, women are more optimistic than men to believe that workplace flexibility will improve in the future, and that is good news for all of us, especially companies, because fewer women will "opt out."
In 2012 when Lean In came out, I read it expecting it to be my manifesto for a strong female taking charge of my life and "leaning in" as a corporate executive.
What I realized is that I’m a statistic. I’m one of the 43% of highly qualified women with children (that Sheryl Sandberg talks about in her book) who are "opting out" or leaving careers for a period of time.
I was a high performing corporate executive who worked 18 plus hours a day overseeing large teams, launching new divisions for my company, and working my tail off.
My OB used to joke that I was the only patient she has ever had who asked to change my delivery date because I had to speak at a conference (which she agreed to). I was back to work 10 weeks after both of my boys were born, with a supportive husband and nanny at home.
I was back to the grind, working hard. However, when your child asks, "Mommy, are you my mom?" you start to rethink things.
Flexibility in work was not an option. And so I "opted out" and "leaned in" on my own terms, which provided me the flexibility and control I desired: I started my own company. Just like the 43% of highly educated, highly trained women who are "opting out" each year.
Employees of today are optimistic about the workplace of the future. The State of Enterprise Work Report found that women are more likely than men to believe that in the next five years there will be a redefinition of work-life balance (64% vs. 57%) and over half of all workers will be remote (57% vs. 48%).
The way we work today is fundamentally different than how we worked even five years ago. Gone are the days that employees only work from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., on Friday, and only within the confines of the four walls of the office. And that is a boon to women and the companies who should be working hard to retain them.
And thanks to collaborative tools and software (like Workfront, Slack, etc.), it’s even easier for companies to run 24/7 from anywhere and everywhere.
Flexibility isn’t just the future of feminism—it’s the future of work. Companies should do all they can to modernize their work environments and embrace technology and a culture that allows for flexibility.
Bring back the 43% into the workforce; you just have to structure the job so that we can come back.
Don’t make us "turn around now…"
See "Office Space Trends: The Rise of Flexible, Remote & Mobile Working" for more interesting statistics and information about flexibility at work.
About the Author
Krista Parry is a marketing executive with over 15 years helping brands connect to people through branding, social media, communications, partnerships and storytelling. She recently founded SisterUp to help women gain the confidence and skills needed to launch their own companies. Krista can be found doing wallsits every Wednesday as part of her #WallSitWednesday platform and is always looking for people to go karaoke-ing with her!Follow on Twitter More Content by Krista Parry