Remote work has made flexibility the new normal, which is a crucial benefit for moms and caregivers. Despite the upsides, research shows that men are better positioned to take advantage of its benefits. Women who work remotely often earn less and are less visible within the company than their counterparts at the office. Women who work remotely are less likely to push for promotions to leadership and global roles. 

Amoi Alawoya, founder of HR consulting and professional development firm Niche Unlimited, explained that biases and stereotypes often create remote workplace environments where women and caregivers experience burnout

“Both on-site and remote, women bear the brunt of gender bias as most senior leaders tend to be men who tend to hire men,” she said.  

In the remote workplace, women are more likely to be assigned operational and administrative tasks. This limits their progress toward senior leadership roles. These hybridized roles detract from women climbing the professional ladder, Alawoya explained. In a recent interview with 21Ninety, Alawoya shared her suggestions on how to bridge the gap with women working remotely.

Communicate Openly With Supervisors

The best way for women to combat the drawbacks of remote work is to communicate with people in leadership. 

“Be upfront and transparent with supervisors about your developmental goals, the challenges of remote work and what your supervisor can do to better support them,” Alawoya told 21Ninety.

If it’s a problem of work-life balance, communicate boundaries with your supervisor. Be strategic by tying your request for boundaries to the values of the organization. Women also can become more visible by utilizing platforms, like Slack and Microsoft Teams. Alawoya explained that commenting frequently on shared announcements and group channels will help women stand out to leadership.

Lean On Allies in the Workplace

Allies are key to helping women bridge the gap in remote work. Allies can advocate for you in rooms where you are not present. They also help you network and empower you to reach career goals.

Alawoya is coaching a client who credits her career advancement to the support of an ally. Despite being talented, she is an introvert and has historically required assistance in asserting herself and navigating networking opportunities. 

“Her ally played a crucial role in advocating for her, co-signing her suggestions, and recommending her for opportunities where her skills and expertise aligned perfectly,” she said. 

Learn Your Employee Rights

Alawoya encourages women who work remotely to know their employment rights and company policies. 

“I’ve heard of too many situations where the promotion process seems clouded with exceptions that disadvantage certain employees,” she said. “By being well-versed in your rights as an employee, you gain the confidence to address these inequities.” 

Continue to Upskill 

Continuous upskilling is a critical pathway to career advancement. Alawoya described upskilling might include collaborating with a mentor or an external coach to provide guidance to reach developmental needs. Whether it’s honing your presentation skills, mastering Excel or personal coaching sessions, upskilling enhances your skills. 

“By actively investing in your professional growth, you position yourself for success and enhance your prospects for the next promotion,” she said.