We’re in an age where working mums expect to be able to make two different worlds work in harmony – family life and career. Notoriously difficult to synchronise, the two lifestyles create a multitude of dilemmas. To miss sports day or to stay true to that crucial work commitment that underpins the success of a project? Working the nine to five grind in the office, the very hours when our children are most active and doing the things mothers can’t bear to miss, means too many working mothers feel that they are too often compromising on too many important areas of their life.
The concept of defining success by a nine to five presence in the office is outdated, offering little reward for high-quality work and limited opportunity for creativity. Success, as many working mothers are finding out, is not defined by a desk, PC and rigid timetable. It is defined by high-quality output, adding team value and driving business forward. This is reinforced by the growing shift towards remote working and more flexible working practices on the whole – indeed, a recent report from Virgin Media Business indicated that 60% of employees will be ‘regularly working from home’ by 2016.
Some budding entrepreneurs are taking this a step further, such as Tracy Gray, a mother of two and founder of jewellery business Button & Bean. She successfully runs her business from her BlackBerry smartphone, using it for everything from accessing vital sales order processing, responding to customer enquiries and accessing Twitter to directly engage with customers to further grow the base. The productivity benefits of adopting this ‘mobile first’ working approach has left Tracey with more time to concentrate on making jewellery and ultimately, continuing to grow her business.
Embracing this approach is an option a number of working mothers are finding increasingly appealing and effective in terms of striking that all important work/life balance. Technological advances have played a vital part: mobile communications have advanced significantly over the past 10 years, to the point where smartphones and tablets have become crucial tools for working life. A mobile device is expected to be much more than just a phone and today’s BlackBerry smartphones can enable working mothers to seamlessly multitask between email, web browsing, mobile social media and more to work in the ways that work best for them. Having this core functionality to simplify communications workflows while on the move is vital for any working mother looking to make the most of mobile technology.
In addition, the growth of communications platforms such as BlackBerry Messenger, a real-time instant messaging service which offers individual and group chat functionality, file sharing capabilities and most importantly, super-speedy communications, as well as a plethora of other apps offer excellent productivity benefits. In short, the combination of hardware, network capability and apps means that this is a time when maintaining high professional standards while working from anywhere, at any time, is a reality, not just a concept.
With a good level of organisation and a healthy dose of determination, balancing your business with family demands is entirely possible. Here are some golden rules to follow to help you to achieve this:
• Find the right work space – while being a successful mobile working mother means you can work from anywhere, you also need to find a space that allows you to do that ‘sit down’ work when needed
• Be reasonable – you won’t be able to compromise on some things. Clients will still want to have the occasional face to face meetings at 4pm. You can’t take a business call during your child’s birthday party. Accept that there are some boundaries that can’t be crossed, and stick to them
• Transparency – ensure your clients and employees alike are safe in the knowledge that, whether or not they can see you, if you’ve made a commitment you will follow it up and meet the deadline
• Embrace social media – Twitter is one of the fastest moving media around and a powerful platform for engaging and interacting with your consumers. Use it as a way to communicate with new and potential customers, respond to enquiries and as a platform to promote your business. BlackBerry Messenger is the world’s leading mobile social network which allows you to create specific groups for multi-person communications. Use it as a quick and easy way to communicate with staff and clients alike
• Network on the move – keep up with clients, customers and new business prospects via Facebook for mobile. Create groups to keep followers updated and target them quickly with important information while on the move. Explore new contacts and networks via LinkedIn during those quick five minute windows snatched between tasks
For further information about how our mobile solutions could help you start and grow your business, click here.