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The 9-to-5 workday is choking women's progress

The 9-to-5 workday is a relic of the past.And for many women working in white-collar office jobs, it may actua...

Posted: Jul 30, 2018 10:04 PM
Updated: Jul 30, 2018 10:04 PM

The 9-to-5 workday is a relic of the past.

And for many women working in white-collar office jobs, it may actually be holding back their progress at work.

While a 9-to-5 workday once helped people set boundaries between work and home, today's modern office instead means most people are working more than ever. Because women are often tasked with more caregiving, they're juggling even more responsibilities at home and at work.

Work flexibility advocates say less rigid schedules, adaptable desk arrangements and remote work set-ups are key to women's advancement in the workplace. Women still make less than their male counterparts and struggle to climb the ranks to the C-suite. Studies show that when women at work have children, they may suffer a "motherhood penalty," resulting in lower salaries and less respect in the office.

As the co-founder of Werk, a flexibility data and insights company, Annie Dean says she's seen first-hand how liberating women from strict work environments can make employees happier and more engaged in the office.

Related: Why it matters so much every time a female CEO leaves

Too often, Dean says, workplaces approach flexibility as an "accommodation" - a special exception made for a working mother or someone with other demands on their schedule. When you paint this kind of arrangement as a "favor," it only enhances what sociologists have dubbed the "flexibility stigma," or the idea that those who work outside the traditional norms of 9-to-5, desk-bound offices are somehow not as committed or not as good at their jobs.

"Since women tend to be the primary caregiver, and since a lot of this conversation, this broken language of the past, has been about providing personal favors to women in the care setting, women are getting access to flexibility, but they're just paying significant consequences to their long-term career as a result of bias," Dean says.

After all, women aren't the only ones who benefit from flexible workplaces. In one study from Werk, 96% of white-collar employees - both men and women - said they would benefit from more flexibility at work, but only 47% had access to it.

Related: This is what women have to do to become CEO

But because the conversation around location and flexible schedules is so often assumed to be about women and motherhood, Dean says men may not even ask about such options - and companies won't implement them.

"If you think of flexibility as an accommodation you make to women, then you're not spending the time to actually do [flexibility] well," she says.

Too often, labeling work initiatives as "women's issues" simply means they'll be ignored by leaders and changemakers, says Brigid Schulte, director of the Better Life Lab at New America.

"As long as we keep framing things as 'good for women' or 'good for mothers,' it doesn't seem to move," Schulte says. "What makes a difference is when you change the whole structure. When you make those changes that benefit everyone, you end up benefiting women and mothers far more than anything else you could do."

Schulte recommends leaders look at their system holistically: do they prize presence over output? Who benefits from rigid boundaries, and who instead craves flexibility?

Just starting the discussion is an important first step, she says.

"The only way that you are going to really solve the gender equality problem at work - as well as at home - is if you are going to change the system," Schulte says. "You have to open up flexibility to everyone. Just make it the way you work, and then no longer will women and caregivers stick out like a sore thumb."

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 68293

Reported Deaths: 1944
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds5656118
DeSoto368031
Harrison253036
Madison244368
Rankin229235
Jackson228843
Jones191659
Forrest182056
Washington168942
Lee147941
Lauderdale141192
Neshoba128692
Lamar122614
Oktibbeha112739
Bolivar111834
Warren109533
Lowndes108538
Panola106214
Sunflower105425
Scott100320
Lafayette98317
Copiah95728
Leflore94765
Pike93836
Holmes90049
Grenada84921
Yazoo83312
Lincoln83241
Pontotoc8308
Simpson80330
Monroe80155
Leake79025
Wayne77421
Coahoma77213
Tate73629
Marshall7019
Marion68420
Union64316
Adams62925
Winston62316
Covington62113
George5895
Pearl River55439
Newton54311
Tallahatchie53011
Attala52325
Walthall50120
Chickasaw47019
Noxubee45912
Alcorn4345
Tishomingo4216
Calhoun4209
Prentiss41710
Claiborne40913
Smith40613
Clay39714
Hancock39514
Jasper3889
Itawamba37510
Tippah36713
Tunica3517
Clarke32626
Montgomery3265
Lawrence3228
Yalobusha31510
Humphreys29411
Quitman2701
Carroll26111
Greene25512
Perry2437
Amite2356
Webster23512
Kemper23414
Jefferson Davis2336
Wilkinson21113
Stone2055
Sharkey1995
Jefferson1957
Benton1431
Choctaw1354
Franklin1312
Issaquena262
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 99926

Reported Deaths: 1781
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson13258244
Mobile10517207
Montgomery6835149
Madison544734
Tuscaloosa423076
Baldwin365125
Unassigned363064
Shelby330936
Marshall318937
Lee270047
Morgan241118
Etowah216232
DeKalb183013
Calhoun180717
Elmore173138
Walker153964
Houston141912
Russell13872
St. Clair135418
Limestone134913
Dallas133123
Franklin128820
Cullman122712
Colbert120716
Lauderdale118919
Autauga117421
Escambia108717
Talladega104814
Jackson10144
Tallapoosa86579
Chambers84438
Dale83525
Clarke82610
Blount8124
Chilton8097
Butler76736
Coffee7646
Covington73720
Pike7087
Marion58026
Barbour5765
Lowndes57324
Marengo56515
Hale47826
Bullock46611
Winston45711
Perry4454
Washington44312
Bibb4425
Wilcox43210
Monroe4215
Pickens4049
Randolph40310
Conecuh39310
Sumter36418
Lawrence3512
Macon33914
Crenshaw3265
Choctaw28712
Cherokee2758
Henry2643
Clay2635
Geneva2631
Greene25211
Lamar2292
Fayette2125
Cleburne1271
Coosa1033
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