I’m just going to put it out there and say that I think we are on the cusp of a workforce revolution.

The ole 9-5 grind is morphing into a more flexible, fluid beast as talented professionals start to expect more from their employers. And vice versa, employers are attracting better candidates as they loosen up the framework in which they expect their people to work.

 

Flexibility is slowly becoming the norm, and professionals are ready to embrace the change.

 

I firmly agree with a quote I read recently by Andrew Rechtman, Executive General Manager - Residential at REA Group (the people behind such huge digital platforms as real.estate.com.au and flatmates.com.au) when he wrote,

 

"Flexibility makes people happier and when people are happier, they tend to work more effectively. Supporting people to choose the tools they use and the environment they work from, allows them to be in a headspace where they become more productive."

 

Take, for example, the ability to work from home. We take it for granted now that most professional, computer-based roles will offer a work from home policy. Or at least be open to talking about it!

 

Step back to twelve years ago and it was a different story!

 

In 2006 I was mid corporate career working in London at one of the UK’s biggest banks. As a Senior Manager, I was one of the few in my team allowed to work from home occasionally – a big deal in those days as the concept was still quite unique, and sceptical colleagues still called it ‘shirking’ from home.  It also involved me lugging home quite a hefty laptop on the Tube (no slim MacBook in those days) so I could securely log in remotely.

 

 

I used to love my work-from-home days.

 

I would wait for the quiet of the house as one by one my flatmates whooshed out the door to work. I would pop the kettle on, throw on a load of washing and then get stuck in to a production budget or another juicy piece of work I’d saved up for this day.

 

I think I achieved more on those days working at home than I ever achieved by being at the office. Those days were precious to me, not only because I appreciated the trust that my employer had shown in me, but also the freedom that working from home allowed me by not having to commute.

 

 

 

 

Zoom forward ten years to my next significant work-from-home role, this time in Sydney as a Production Manager for parenting site Babyology.

 

 

Five days a week, 10am-2pm, I was online and delivering my part as a member of a virtual team of people all working remotely across the country.

 

This role was instrumental in laying the ground work for SquarePeg, as it taught me a number of key things at this stage of my life.

 

  1. I still loved working from home
  2. I was able to be part of a community of colleagues, albeit virtually
  3. Technology had come a long way since my London days (woohoo!)
  4. My work/life balance was excellent
  5. I could happily wear many hats – employee, mother, provider, team member

 

 

And now I find myself in my most exciting career phase; running SquarePeg remotely, most days, from my home office or local cafe!

 

Being a home-based business is by no means a reflection on the ambitions for the business that I share with my co-founders Kat and Alan. Our ambitions for SquarePeg are in fact perhaps bigger and bolder than if we had forked out some of our initial capital for office space from the get go.

 

 

I like to think that we are living the vision. We’re part of a modern workforce community that now expects to be able to work flexibly.

 

I still pick up my kids from school each day – it is amazing how much you can squeeze in to school hours! And if I need to work a longer day, have meetings or travel for work, my husband (who also works for a forward-thinking company) shares the parenting load with me.

 

It is a win win!

 

 

 

 

This is indeed true for me, and I am passionate about creating more opportunities for those professionals amongst us who also want to connect with forward-thinking businesses

who offer such balanced roles.

 

 


 

Reference: Andrew Rechtman, Executive General Manager - Residential at REA Group Article: 'Why everyone should consider working flexibly' 12 April, 2018.