Read of the Day: “Women Are More Likely Than Men to Be Engaged in Their Jobs”
6:30 pm, June 25th | by Weiyu Li
If you’re a boss who wants your employees to be more productive — and we bet you are — you may want to consider giving them more freedom. In today’s Read of the Day, Nanette Fondas, the co-author of The Custom-Fit Workplace, claims that workplace flexibility leads to a more active and engaged workplace. Fondas also argues that since women tend to have more flexible work schedules then men, they feel more “emotional connection and engagement” in the workplace.
Intriguingly, women report more work engagement than men do. Despite barriers to workplace equality–such as hiring, pay, and promotion bias–Gallup found a small but statistically significant difference: 33 percent of women feel actively engaged, versus 28 percent of men. A different Gallup database from the years 2010-2012 reveals a similar 6 percent gender gap favoring women on connection to the workplace, using relationship-based items such as “a supervisor or someone cares.”
The Gallup report offers no rationale for the gender gap in workplace engagement, but some of its other findings hint at causes. First, Gallup found that 39 percent of employees work off-site sometime, and these people are slightly more engaged (32 percent) than their on-site-full-time counterparts (28 percent). Those who spend less than 20 percent of their time working remotely are most engaged, suggesting that some wiggle room created by flexible work arrangements–to attend to family responsibilities or other important needs–releases pressure and stress and pays returns to employers with engaged, committed personnel, not to mention additional hours worked. Gallup found that remote workers log, on average, four more hours per week than their non-remote counterparts.
Another reason women may feel more emotional connection and engagement in the workplace arises from the benefits of flextime. The Galllup poll found that flextime produces the greatest effect on employees’ overall well being, when compared with other workplace incentives such as vacation days and reduced hours. “Engaged employees with a lot of flextime had 44 percent higher wellbeing than actively disengaged employees with very little to no flextime. Among employees who were not engaged or actively disengaged, those who reported having flextime also had higher overall wellbeing compared with those with very little or no flextime.” Human wellbeing is a baseline condition or what motivation theorist Frederick Herzberg called a hygiene factor. It is a necessary prerequisite before a person can tackle other tasks such as creative, productive, invested performance in a job. Since women–particularly caregivers–value and use flextime when it is offered, they may get a wellbeing boost to propel them to higher-level functioning at work. Women’s job performance outcomes, such as commitment, satisfaction, and engagement, would thus register higher than those of men.
To read “Women Are More Likely Than Men to Be Engaged in Their Jobs” in full, click here.