Thank god for technology and the ability to work from home

So here I am, up at 5am and I’ve been up for at least an hour. No, this is not me readjusting to daylight savings, this is Patrick and his insane profession coupled with the Most-Annoying-Alarm-In-The-World. As is usual when you are awake at an odd hour, it’s nice (once the fog clears) to be able to think a bit without referring to your list-of-things-to-do-today.

I’ve not mentioned this before while blogging, but my profession is job sites. This is what I do in my 9-5 day, I am a marketing power house (in my mind) for a range of specialist job sites. As such I come across interesting information on a regular basis, but every now again I see stuff that I relate to personally – such as articles about mums in the workplace. Of course this is of particular interest to me. Yesterday there was an article on Onrec which was about Workingmums.co.uk talking to Coca Cola about women returning to work. It’s an interesting read and basically tells what we already know about working as a mum in the workplace – how daunting it can be coming back, how desperate you are to prove yourself, how much you really don’t want your career to suffer and of course the reality that you now have 2 lives fighting for dominance.

I remember what this was like years ago. I was living in Cape Town and my choices were
1) go back to work and while in work pretend you don’t have a kid because nobody really cares anyway or
2) don’t work and look after your family. You are no longer eligible for a career.
I made the choice to work. It wasn’t just financial circumstances, but I was a lot younger, and I didn’t want to put my career on hold. I did what many woman in my neighborhood did and worked with my family. I was lucky to have that option otherwise I would not have been able to get any kind of balance. Even so, I worked all day and didn’t take time or holiday unless absolutely necessary.

But now, 10 years on and of course things have changed. Reading the article raised an interesting question for me.

How necessary is it in a digital age to work from a traditional office environment in order to maintain a full time job?

Take my current work scenario for example: I get to work and I spend most of the day sitting at my desk. Half the applications I have are online and the others are bog standard Microsoft Office and the same design packages I use at home. I’m not big on meetings and the ones I do attend are usually short and snappy, and often people are flexible with when they are scheduled (they’re nice like that). I hardly get any phone calls at all.

So what is my purpose for being in the office or having to travel in each and every day? It is an interesting direction to consider. Would my productivity suffer or would I be able to get more done? What are the rules surrounding the work from home situation? More importantly, do I have the guts to ask?

Now of course this is not the same as returning to work which is what the article was about – that is a different ball game entirely as you are out of the loop for months and yes things do change. However I think that there is a case for parents who work in digital industries (and others of course, but I can’t relate to other industries) to be able to have the flexibility to work from where ever they may be.

Isn’t this what we are working towards?
Why the invention of laptops, wi-fi networks, iPhones and emails if not to create flexibility for employees?

I always thought that it was to allow us to plug in when ever and where ever we are, to use the technology we are developing at a rapid rate and ultimately have a full-time life which work is a part of instead of a full-time job that life is a part of.

I for one think that it is time that career mums and dads really embrace the technical age we’ve worked so hard to build and realise the reality that our mobile, paperless office of the future is, in fact, right here.

 

11 November 2016:
This article has been updated, but surprisingly very little as the issues working women, including myself (still), face has not moved on an awful lot in 6 years since I first wrote this. It makes me wonder just how first world we are in the UK, what could be holding us back, and why the majority of employers are still clinging desperately to old world thinking?

2 Replies to “Thank god for technology and the ability to work from home”

  1. That’s an interesting one. Depends on the job – I don’t think people’s engagement with the life digital has quite reached that point yet unless you’re a specialist in that area (like yourself) or kind of “internally self-employed” in some way. That being said, my own job swings between needing to be insure because of the sheer volume of interactions I’m scheduled for and needing to be at home to actually get some work done. And being at means being in the local library as work via laptop and small children do not mix…

    1. Thanks for commenting 🙂

      Yes people in digital industries are more likely to embrace technology. I think you are right on that one. I always imagine though that industries not entrenched in the digital revolution are those that don’t have the issue of being office bound (for some reason Horticulture springs to mind). It’s an interesting point to be sure.

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