The year was 2001 and I had been working at IBM for about 2 years. They had introduced dial-up connections to enable your laptop to be accessed from home.
I clearly remember my boss saying to me that he was going to work from home one day a week. My reaction was shock, joy and jealousy all at once. However, within the next 6 months, all the team began working from home at least a day a week. This was way before “flexible working” was the norm in Australia. We were so lucky.
Over the next 10 years, I worked 80% from home – around the kids, managing growing global teams and coordinating worldwide time zones. At one stage I memorised all APAC country time differences (as well as my children’s dance and sports schedules), so I knew when I could attend conference calls and meetings. What a juggle – but I loved every minute!
My memory of those years was nothing but positive – I had an amazing career, was on tap for my family and all because I worked flexibly. What made this situation easier was the IBM measured employees on outcomes, recognised good work and provided amazing IT systems to support this type of work style.
Working flexibly simply allowed me to contribute – at a corporate level, at home, as a sister, daughter, friend, wife and mother.
In 2018, if employers don’t provide flexible working, they are missing out on a massive talent pool that would enhance their bottom line and build a positive culture. We are seeing a change in Australia and that is wonderful, but we still have a way to go.
At the other end of the scale, I work with a number of senior people who would also love the opportunity to work flexibly; imparting their knowledge and mentoring others. This is a growing talent pool that Australian businesses could harness to create a new workforce of flexible employees – their investment would be returned 10fold.
On this day of Flexible working – let’s embrace what Flexible working really means (for employers and employees):
Pam Dell is a founding member of the FlexCoach panel of career and executive coaches. She has been on a 30-year journey that encompassed a constant juggle between corporate life and raising 3 children. Her background covers HR, Business, IT, Mentoring, Career coaching, Outplacement consulting, Learning and Development. She coaches people every day to help them be better at what they do, land their dream role, crystalise their goals and achieve their potential. Her passion is seeing people gain confidence to do what they were meant to do (and more!)
You can connect with Pam through her FlexCoach profile here