Remote and hybrid workers are facing workplace exclusion, with 43 percent of mothers who work remotely feeling overlooked for promotion and work opportunities, according to a recent study conducted by workingmums.co.uk.
The survey, which is part of the organisation’s annual research, also unveiled that almost one-third (29%) of respondents reported not feeling fully included in their workplaces.
The research sheds light on the increasing significance of flexible working, which has become the second most crucial factor for employee retention among mothers, right after pay.
A staggering 73 percent of survey participants stated that flexible working is a non-negotiable condition when considering a new job, and 52 percent confessed to turning down job offers due to a lack of flexibility.
Flexibility is the biggest hurdle
For those actively seeking employment, flexibility appears to be the most substantial hurdle, with a whopping 84 percent of job hunters struggling to find positions that meet their flexibility requirements. Childcare costs were cited as a barrier to returning to work by 27 percent of respondents, while 22 percent identified the shortage of available childcare options as a limiting factor.
Consequently, the study revealed that the flexibility of a prospective employer’s policies is a key point of interest for four out of five job seekers, with 75 percent indicating that they would inquire about these policies during interviews. An alarming 32 percent of respondents disclosed that their flexible working arrangements had been revoked at some point, and 55 percent of them ultimately left their jobs as a result.
Mandy Garner, a spokesperson for workingmums.co.uk, emphasised the importance of flexible working for mothers and its role in facilitating childcare options. She stressed that employers must prioritise flexible working if they aim to attract and retain top talent.
What about working mothers?
Among the survey participants, approximately one-third (32%) of working mothers currently hold full-time hybrid or remote positions, while another third (31%) work full-time in the office. A total of 20 percent work part-time in the office, and 16 percent have part-time hybrid or remote roles. Less than 1 percent of respondents are involved in job-sharing arrangements.
In terms of satisfaction with remote work, 40 percent of those in remote or hybrid roles reported being content with their remote workdays. Nevertheless, 18 percent expressed dissatisfaction, and 21 percent felt unsupported when working remotely. Part-time workers also reported feeling marginalised compared to their full-time counterparts, with 40 percent stating that they had experienced being sidelined.
Mandy Garner concluded, “There is still work to be done to ensure that flexible working is taken seriously. Offering hybrid or remote options is not merely a checkbox exercise; it should be deeply ingrained in a company’s culture and supported by relevant systems. Only then can we begin to level the playing field and reduce discrimination against those working remotely.”
Amelia Brand is the Editor for HRreview, and host of the HR in Review podcast series. With a Master’s degree in Legal and Political Theory, her particular interests within HR include employment law, DE&I, and wellbeing within the workplace. Prior to working with HRreview, Amelia was Sub-Editor of a magazine, and Editor of the Environmental Justice Project at the University College London, writing and overseeing articles into UCL’s weekly newsletter. Her previous academic work has focused on philosophy, politics and law, with a special focus on how artificial intelligence will feature in the future.