Gone are the days when wives stayed home with the children while husbands brought home the bacon. In the current global economic crisis, and with ever increasing costs, very few households can afford to survive on one income alone. How do moms (and dads) that need to balance their time with their kids, their responsibilities at home, and their work requirements cope? Through the effective use of technology and the appropriate application of flexibility, that’s how.
According to Eric Edelstein, Chief Executive Officer at Daddy’s Deals, a South African website offering exclusive offers on travel, accommodation, restaurants, spa treatments and experiences, technology is changing the way we collaborate in business. “The technological advances of this age have made the world a much smaller place, enabling effective communication and collaboration from anywhere on the planet, whether in the office or on your couch at home.” This offers working parents, and women in particular, the opportunity to maintain their status as competent and effective employees that contribute to the business’ success, without neglecting their offspring or household duties.
With an advanced level of collaboration, employees are enabled to complete daily tasks, while focussing on additional projects and responsibilities, without a loss of efficiency. As the Daddy’s Deals team began planning for the development of a new website, the value of teamwork and its facilitation through technology became exceedingly evident. “To aid in project management, we utilise ‘Trello’, a flexible and visual organisational, project management application. Another tool that we utilise is ‘Slack’, a real-time messaging, archiving and search application, which allows teams to work together and communicate with one another using one central point,” confirms Edelstein. “These tools empower the team to work cohesively, no matter where in South Africa each individual is based; whether in the office, working while sitting at a coffee shop or at home with their baby on their lap.”
A proven positive link exists between flexibility in the workplace and employee productivity. Employees that feel trusted are usually more trustworthy, and are so grateful for the flexible structure that they often perform better. As a working mom, it can become difficult to meet all of the demands that every day brings, but with a little flexibility, the pressure is relieved resulting in less busyness and more efficacy. “We run our business with the ethos that our workforce must be respected, trusted and flexible. There are so many brilliant women of excellence out there that are struggling to find employment because they need a little bit of tractability to accommodate a work/home life balance.”
If the work is done, management is happy, and if the technology is available to support remote access to servers, emails, office equipment, applications and more, then does it really matter whether employees are slogging away in the office? Edelstein believes that it is more important to attract and retain the best staff and to deliver excellent results, than to stay confined within the constraints of working onsite and keeping normal office hours. “Our employees can work from wherever they need to, as long as they deliver outstanding results within the parameters that are set for each project.” This approach has resulted in an engaged workforce that delivers a high calibre of work, and is inspired to go the extra mile to implement interesting and unique features on the Daddy’s Deals website.
“At the very least, using collaboration tools and shifting to more flexible ways of working makes strategic business sense,” states Daddy’s Deals’ Chief Technology Officer, Bryan Gruneberg. “A sizable portion of the available human capital in our society spendsfive to 10 years becoming excellent at their professions, only to drop out of the market because raising a family seems to stand at odds with making an income. We dispute this premise! We believe it’s less important when things get done, and more important that they get done. By embracing flexible working practices we are not only aiming to attract high-quality working moms, but also hoping to enable dads to play a more active role in child rearing. To me, it seems like everyone wins.”
Mother of two and Head of Marketing at Daddy’s Deals, Jenna Bloch, agrees; “The use of the latest technology enables us to meet our project goals, even if I have to spend the afternoon working from the side of a swimming pool”. Bloch confirms that her productivity has increased and her stress levels have decreased, as she no longer wastes time worrying about the things she needs to get done outside of the office.
As American diplomat and politician Madeleine M Kunin once said; “To make flexibility work, it is not only necessary to change our attitude about who is a good worker and who is not; we also have to train managers at all levels to recognise the difference between the number of hours worked and the quality of work produced.”
Image source: Shutterstock