The difference in male and female employees’ attitudes when it comes to their choice of work models is becoming increasingly evident, with women more likely to desire flexible arrangements. 

New research conducted by Totaljobs and Boston Consulting Group (BCG) has revealed that female employees are more likely to opt for flexible working arrangements, giving them a split between working from home and in-office.

More than two-thirds of women (67 per cent) stated that they wished to split their time between work and home. However, just over half of men (54 per cent) said the same.

This was shown to be true when considering both working remotely full-time and returning to the office. Three in 10 men (30 per cent) reported that they would switch to a completely remote working model if possible but only a quarter of women (24 per cent) echoed this.

Similarly, whilst more than one in 7 men would be happy to return to the workplace full-time (16 per cent), only under one in 10 female employees (9 per cent) felt the same.

Another consideration for employers is the sectors that staff work within. Particular industries such as IT, digitisation and analytics, law and media were most likely to want to work from home full-time. However, this largely correlates to the percentage of employees who worked remotely during the pandemic, showing that the pandemic has increased staff awareness and desire for flexible working options.

As such, flexible working arrangements have been a significant consideration for HR which could take many forms. This includes job sharing, working from home, compressed hours, part-time hours, flexitime and staggered hours.

Despite this, employees are only permitted to request flexible working once they have worked for the same employer for 26 weeks. The CIPD have called for the right to flexible working, for all staff, with workers being eligible to request this from day one of employment.

However, recent research showed that organisations are not always giving staff the range of flexible options they desire.

Steve Warnham, TotalJobs, emphasised the importance of providing employees with this choice:

Our research highlights the importance of having policies in place that support flexible working, particularly given the distinction between men and women’s working preferences.

As we look ahead to when restrictions are eased, it is vital that employers consider the needs and preferences of different demographics within their workforce. Choices companies make now will play a crucial role in retaining talent for the long term and flexibility should be a key factor in these decisions.

*This research was obtained from TotalJobs and BCG’s joint report ‘Decoding Global Ways of Working‘ which surveyed  209,000 participants in 190 countries, including the UK.





Monica Sharma is an English Literature graduate from the University of Warwick. As Editor for HRreview, her particular interests in HR include issues concerning diversity, employment law and wellbeing in the workplace. Alongside this, she has written for student publications in both England and Canada. Monica has also presented her academic work concerning the relationship between legal systems, sexual harassment and racism at a university conference at the University of Western Ontario, Canada.