Career Consequences of Flexible Work Practices in a Changing Context

Katie Genadek, University of Minnesota
Anne Kaduk, University of Minnesota
Erin Kelly, University of Minnesota
Phyllis Moen, University of Minnesota

It is often suggested that making workplaces more flexible will increase work-family “balance” and reduce gender inequality. However, previous research has shown negative career consequences for utilizing flexible work arrangements, especially for women and mothers. Thus, the proposed solution may actually be reinforcing gender inequality in economic outcomes. This paper analyzes a work-life initiative focused on changing the workplace culture, emphasizing increased employee schedule control for all employees. This group-level initiative should reduce the stigma associated with flexible work practices and consequently lessen the career consequences associated with them. Preliminary results from a group-randomized control trial of the workplace intervention suggest that it does diminish the penalty for working remotely. Further research will look at the gender differences in economic outcomes related to flexible work practices.

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Presented in Session 156: Gender, Family, and Careers