Leading, Not Managing April 18, 2013

Women fear flex working mistrust will block career progression


Female employers are looking for inspiration in the workplace that will enable them to deviate from 'traditional expectations', according to research published by telecoms provider, O2.

A study found that women want more and better leadership at work to encourage them to take the steps necessary to enable career progression. According to managers.org.uk, many of the women questioned were particularly seeking 'clear leadership' over issues such as childcare and flexible working. 

Much of their concern related to a fear of being penalised for working remotely. Some 56 per cent said that they wanted their CEO or leader to reassure them that their jobs would not be adversely affected if they made a request to work from home. Yet 52 per cent conceded that trust was an issue.

Flexible working practices are being valued ever more highly by both male and female employees, thus there could be a case for leadership training if trust is an issue. The highlights of working flexibly could also perhaps be made more abundantly clear to senior managers. These include motivation, attraction and - importantly - the retention of key talent.


Commenting on the findings, O2 business director, Ben Dowd told grapevine.com: "The digital world offers huge opportunity to suit the demands of different people in the workforce - whether through flexible working policies that empower staff to shape their own working day, to creating an inspiring workplace that breaks down barriers across teams.

"To create a truly flexible working culture, actions speak louder than words - and employers must lead by example to ensure that every member of staff feels empowered to shape their own definition of the 9 to 5."

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