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Is hybrid work empowering or impeding women's career advancement?

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Is hybrid work empowering or impeding women’s career advancement?

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    By Nada Richa

    In recent years, hybrid work has become increasingly popular , offering employees a middle ground between traditional office and remote work. This shift, accelerated by the Covid-19 pandemic, has brought new perspectives to various industries and businesses.

    This approach has particularly benefited women, enabling them to balance work and family responsibilities more effectively.

    Hybrid work is not just a passing trend but a new standard that combines traditional office and remote work aspects. Since the emergence of Covid 19, many women have opted for hybrid work to balance their professional responsibilities with family obligations. Hybrid work arrangements play an essential role in fostering gender equity, diversity, and women's professional development.

    A recent study by the International Workplace Group (IWG) on how hybrid work is revolutionizing work for American women reveals that 88 % of surveyed women see hybrid work as an equaliser. Additionally, 72% of women would seek a new job if their employer eliminated hybrid work flexibility. Furthermore, 82% believe that hybrid work allows them to prioritize their family and children, while 67% believe that it positively impacts their career growth.

    Opportunities and Challenges

    The widespread adoption of hybrid working has also opened opportunities for women to pursue senior positions within their organizations. Flexible working has enabled over 53 percent of surveyed women to seek promotions or apply for more senior roles.

    The advantages of hybrid work are particularly evident for women. As women often bear a greater share of caregiving and domestic duties, hybrid work facilitates the integration of a full-time job with family responsibilities.

    For instance, a recent study in the UK by Public First found that hybrid work has encouraged many professionally educated women, especially mothers, to shift to full-time work, potentially helping reduce inequalities in the workplace.< /p>

    However, hybrid work also presents challenges if not effectively managed. It can negatively affect networking, collaboration, and professional development.

    A recent Deloitte report exploring the experiences of 5,000 women across ten countries revealed that 37% of women hybrid workers feel excluded from important meetings, and 30% report insufficient access to senior leaders, which is essential for career advancement.

    As organizations increasingly embrace diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives to support women's career growth, it is crucial for managers and employees to proactively address the challenges of hybrid work to maximize its benefits and avoid drawbacks.

    Hybrid Work in Cyprus

    Many companies in Cyprus have adopted hybrid working arrangements, reflecting the growing desire for flexible work options. Furthermore, Cypriots are known to be family-oriented, making hybrid work particularly appealing, especially for women who prioritize staying close to their children.

    In this regard, Ernst & Young Cyprus announced in 2021 that it has transitioned to a hybrid working model. This move aligns with the company's long-standing culture of flexible working, which was in place many years prior to the pandemic. EY Cyprus has embraced this new working model by creating a modern and flexible office environment. A recent survey by EY revealed that hybrid working is a top priority for employees, second only to concerns about pay affected by high inflation rates.

    One of the biggest challenges faced by Cypriot employers and abroad is the availability of skilled labour. Thus, the hybrid model is crucial for Cypriot companies to attract talent. It has also been recommended by various Cypriot recruiting agencies based on the applicants' preferences.

    In today's job market, candidates expect a certain level of flexibility and feel empowered to quit their jobs when their expectations are not met. By offering hybrid working options, businesses can meet expectations and attract the right candidates. Failing to provide this flexibility puts them at a disadvantage compared to employers who do offer hybrid options.

    Women globally make different choices in their professional lives based on their priorities and the value they place on their well-being. Some women continue to work in the office while setting boundaries to accommodate family needs. Others opt to downscale their careers, start businesses for greater control, or embrace remote or hybrid work arrangements. Some even take a complete break to focus on parenting. Choosing hybrid work not only offers the flexibility to achieve a better work-life balance but also creates opportunities and opens doors that might not have been accessible otherwise.

    Eventually, hybrid work presents a valuable opportunity for women to advance in their careers while maintaining a work-life balance. Although it comes with its own set of challenges, proactive measures by organizations can help mitigate these issues. In Cyprus, adopting flexible work environments is crucial for creating an inclusive work environment and supporting women to reach their full potential in the workplace.

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