<p>Latest ONS figures suggested 13 per cent of employees are working from home – with 17 per cent using a hybrid model of the two</p>

Latest ONS figures suggested 13 per cent of employees are working from home – with 17 per cent using a hybrid model of the two

Working from home could hurt women’s careers, Bank of England policymaker says

Catherine Mann says people will be split into the virtual and physical ‘tracks’

Laura Hampson
Friday 12 November 2021 16:34

Women who are working from home could be hurting their careers now that a number of people are returning to the office, Bank of England (BoE)  policymaker, Catherine Mann, has warned.

Speaking at an event for women in finance held by Financial News on Thursday, Mann said: “Virtual platforms are way better than they were even five years ago. But the extemporaneous, spontaneity – those are hard to replicate in a virtual setting.”

Mann, who is a member of the BoE’s Monetary Policy Committee, added that spontaneous office conversations are key for recognition and advancement in many workplaces.

She cited childcare and disruption from schooling caused by the pandemic as being some of the reasons why many women were continuing to work from home while men returned to the office. This divide, Mann said, would result in two “tracks” – a virtual track and a physical track.

“There is the potential for two tracks,” she explained. “There’s the people who are on the virtual track and people who are on a physical track. And I do worry that we will see those two tracks develop, and we will pretty much know who’s going to be on which track, unfortunately.”

Data released from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) this month reported 60 per cent of workers are now working in the office, while 13 per cent are working from home. A further 17 per cent are using a hybrid model of the two.

Mann added that the downturn caused by the pandemic had hit women disproportionately and that Covid-19 was “very much a ‘she-cession’” as it has resulted in more job losses among women than it has men.

A report from Burnout Britain in 2020 found that women are 43 per cent more likely to have increased their hours beyond a standard working week than men while working from home.

Previous data from ONS found that women were more likely than men to say that working from home gave them more time to complete work as there were fewer distractions.

It said that, for men, working from home aided the creation of new ideas but for women, home working was seen to be a barrier for new ideas.

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