Business Insider: Spotify's new remote-work plan is a bet on diversity

20 Feb 2021
Research in AOM Proceedings found that flexible remote-work options helped retain women workers.

Originally found at Business Insider, by Marguerite Ward.

Spotify announced a plan last week that aims to let all employees work from an office, remotely, or at a coworking space that the company will pay a subscription for, while continuing to pay San Francisco or New York salaries, depending on job function.

The news came as other major companies roll out options for remote and hybrid working.

Facebook and Twitter have also announced remote-work options, but said they would cut employee salaries if they chose to relocate away from their offices in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Reddit, on the other hand, said it wouldn't cut pay for employees who move from major cities.

Spotify's move is part of a broader shift to permanent remote work ushered in by the pandemic. But there's another factor at play. It's a strategy to attract more applicants from underrepresented backgrounds, the company told Insider.

Research suggests that flexible work can help promote diversity, equity, and inclusion for employees from a variety of backgrounds. Spotify's Travis Robinson, the head of diversity, inclusion, and belonging, said that the plan — called "Work from Anywhere" — was created for that purpose.

"Work From Anywhere isn't in response to the pandemic," he told Insider in an email. "We've long believed that globalization and digitalization are drivers for more flexibility.

The increased caregiving burden on women affects their careers. Some 275,000 women left the workforce in January alone, amid school and childcare closures.

"Let's consider a scenario where you're an existing employee that needs to become the primary caregiver for an ailing parent who lives in a different part of the country," Spotify's Robinson said. "Whatever the case, we embrace it."

Remote work gives caregivers the ability to work at home while tending to children and older relatives. Research published in the Academy of Management Proceedings found that flexible remote-work options helped retain women workers.

Providing the option for remote work also encourages employees with disabilities to apply to jobs at Spotify, Robinson said. Flexible work reduces distractions, eliminates commutes, and allows employees with disabilities easier access to medications, the careers site Glassdoor reported. It also relives pressure on workers with disabilities who may not feel comfortable disclosing it to their employer.

Continue reading the original article at Business Insider.

Read the original research in Academy of Management Proceedings.

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