Aside from the lack of gender parity in the workplace and an ever-present pay gap with which women have historically had to contend, an even starker choice has often remained constant – family or career. Unfortunately, having a demanding career and being a caregiver haven’t always gone hand in hand for women and rarely have both been an option. Luckily all of that is changing and today’s working women have more options than ever before.
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The advent of the internet and growth of digital communication have revolutionized where, when, and especially how we work, meaning many women now don’t have to make the black and white choice between career and family.
Instant messaging (IM) – including group chats, video and audio chats utilizing Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology, and the ability to send and receive files – has played a critical role in this revolution. Of the growing number of options women have at their disposal, one of the most beneficial is the option to work remotely. It’s vital, however, that they don’t feel remote to their superiors, colleagues, and clients. With IM and IM mobile apps, regular check-ins with managers regarding projects and reports are just a message away. Files can be sent and received, visuals and graphics approved, and inquires answered instantly, without the potential lag time of email. Video and audio chats mean that meetings can be arranged without missing yoga, the gym, or just a night out to dinner. When employees are just an IM away, the weekly staff meeting is practically a thing of the past.
Today, mothers have more options. Boardroom meetings can often be run with video conferencing, medical transcription files can easily be uploaded to a private server in a home office, scheduling and reports can be shared through collaborative tools—all diminishing the necessity of one’s physical presence.
–What has remote work done for mothers and primary caregivers?, Sophie Solomon, Sr. Account Manager, Projectline
Working remotely with tools like IM affords numerous benefits to women and their families. Not only do women gain the flexibility so critical to balancing work and family responsibilities, but the added free time and financial benefits of remote work mean mothers can focus on the things that really matter.
Tools like IM provide remote working mothers incredible flexibility throughout the day. Working women no longer have to worry about getting the kids to and from karate lessons, dropping off the dry cleaning, and being on time for the dentist appointment while waiting for confirmation of the finishing touches on a project or report. Nor must they worry about missing kids’ recitals, sporting events, or school plays. Without the stress and wasted time of the daily commute, moms can get the kids to school, do the grocery shopping, and still be home in time for the 10:00 AM video chat with head office. The convenience of IM, coupled with the forward-thinking approach offered by remote work, reduces the stress and anxiety working mothers face – all while enhancing productivity.
Avoiding the drive or train ride home means you can put in a full eight or nine hours of work and still make it to daycare on time, cook for and eat dinner with your children, and get everyone to bed at a reasonable hour without feeling like you’re going to pass out – or explode – from exhaustion.
–A Working Mom’s Hallelujah Moment: Working Remotely, We Can (Almost) Do it All, Deborah Levine, Director, Communications and Marketing for Teach for All
Remote work can often leave employees feeling isolated and disconnected from superiors, colleagues, and clients. Crucially, IM affords remote working mothers the connectedness and visibility so vital to worker happiness and overall productivity. Tele-nurses in Australia report using IM to keep in touch throughout their daily shift, sending private messages to check on each other when someone “goes quiet.”
Studies show that both non school-age and school-age children benefit substantially when parents have more time to spend at home. It is vital for parents to be at home with their children, especially during a child’s most formative years. Since women account for the majority of parents who either give up their careers or put them on hold when they have a child, working remotely with tools like IM at their disposal means women can focus more attention on their children.
I’m glad that though I’m returning to work (from maternity leave), I won’t be too far away from my baby. In fact, I’m hoping I can still breastfeed her during work breaks, rather than pump like most working mothers have to do.
–Why Millenial Moms Are Seeing Accelerated Success Working From Home, Jenny Karn, Co-Founder of digital agency Beutler Ink
With the average family spending nearly $10,000 annually on child care, the budget is tight. And let’s face it, things aren’t exactly getting cheaper. Not only do remote working mothers no longer face a daunting commute, rising gas prices, and added wear and tear on the car, but the elimination of child care costs frees up a huge portion of the family income for that desperately needed family vacation or even the kids’ higher education.
I’ve been working remotely for more than six years now. And in that time, I gave birth to my son and saw him all the way to kindergarten without having to put him in daycare. Not once!
–Why You’ll Love Remote Work As A Mom (And How You Can Find Your First At-Home Job), Ashlee Anderson, Work From Home Happiness
As more and more women have the opportunity to work remotely, IM allows them the distinct advantage to focus more time at home while importantly affording substantial savings so vital to families in today’s economy. Moreover, the increased flexibility, enhanced productivity, and connectedness provided by IM means that the modern working woman is better suited to meet the challenges of balancing ever-changing work and family responsibilities.