Gallop Poll Says the Ladies are Flexin' (Their Schedules) and it's Making Them Happier at Work

A new Gallop poll checking in on the “2013 State of the American Workforce” reveals we are in a sorry state indeed. A depressing 70 percent of full-time employees are at best, emotionally disconnected, at worst, actively loathing their jobs.

The poll splits workers into three categories. About one third are “actively engaged” (interested, passionate), 52 percent are “not engaged” (going through the motions, logging time with no real investment), while 18 percent are “actively disengaged” (and liable to smash the copier à la Office Space).

In our cash-strapped recessionary economy, it makes sense to find lots of employees clocking in at less-than-dream jobs and underwhelmed by them. Interestingly, however, Gallop found a small but significant difference between the number of men (28 percent) and women (33 percent) who were “actively engaged” at work. This trend was also evident in the 2010-2012 survey, with the gap a little wider at 6 percent.

In a follow up article, Nanette Fondas of The Atlantic perused the poll and suggested the difference could be explained by “organizational dynamics” applicable to both sexes, rather than a difference in biology or gender roles (kind of refreshing, if you ask me). Gallop found that employees who worked remotely or off-site reported greater satisfaction and clocked four extra hours of work per week than those who spent all their time at the office. Flextime (the ability to chose when to log hours around a “core” period at the office) was a greater contributor to employees’ sense of wellbeing than vacation time or days off. Fondas noted that women more commonly work remotely when balancing parenting duties, and are also more likely to take advantage of flextime to personalize their schedules, leaving time for life and family that in turn increases a sense of agency and commitment to work.

Fondas' work appears to imply that when our corporations accept and allow men to be as engaged in care giving as women, we might see more contented male employees. What remains to be investigated is whether this difference holds when controlling for age as well as gender. Does the same spread remain between younger, childless men and women?