Working from home: flexible working gets another knock by another high profile mum

Working from home is is less frowned upon these days in most industries than a few years ago, when it was seen as an excuse to skive at home.

Thankfully, many employes see i’s merits and this often gives many employees the work-life balance they need while remaining productive.

While most men tend to work from home on an ad hoc basis, home working is something that many women tend to do on a more regular, or even permanent basis. For many, often mums, it can mean cutting out the commute and doing the school run in time to get home and start a full day’s work.

So it comes as a surprise when two high profile women – who are also mothers – can be so damning of flexible working. Yahoo chief executive Marissa Mayer sensationally announced that home working is to be scraped and that employees should either work in the office or leave the company. And for an online business this seems like a very odd move…

Now, it seems that Alexandra Shulman, Head of British Vogue, has jumped in to back her. Writing in Saturday’s Guardian, the head of British Vogue, Alexandra Shulman, admits that her instant reaction to employee requests to work from home is “no”. She argues: “It’s very pleasant and often very constructive, but it is not doing the same job as I do at work and neither is it for anyone else.”

This is the same small-minded approach to flexible working that makes it difficult for mothers to remain in the workplace.

The fact that the head of such a large publication cannot produce the same quality of work without being in the office is, frankly, concerning, and her direct reports are unfortunately bearing the brunt of this.

While both women’s comments have been met with mixed responses, it does raise the concern about the real reasons why other managers often decline valid requests for flexible working – is it based on their own work ethic, or that of the actual employee?

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