Remote work and women.
For women, working remotely can mean all kind of things and can offer many opportunities and options to continue working and climbing the career ladder if they want to.
For me, it's about choices, options and freedom to live life on my terms but still do work that I believe in and want to put my time and effort into. It's about being able to travel if I want and when I want, about being able to go see family if they need me, spending time with my partner and loved ones. Not having to deal with office politics and horrible commutes.
However, I believe that everyone is different and how we see remote work and what it can mean differs too.
So this year for International Women's Day, we asked members of our community how they thought remote working has and will help them and future generations of women.
As a human I love working remotely for the freedom and variety it gives me but as a woman my intentions behind it were to do with inequality and trying to find some balance.
Many moons ago when I was considering what kind of career I wanted to have I knew that I wanted to be able to work AND be at home with my children when they needed me (for those sicks days/school runs etc.). I didn’t want to feel beholden or begrudged by anyone whilst doing this so I brainstormed the types of careers that would allow this. I had always been creative and my art teacher at school had suggested graphic design to me, which I dismissed and went to study publishing where I discovered I would make a rubbish editor but actually really quite enjoyed the design element of publishing. I ended up studying publication design and from there gained freelance work and 10 years later I am still working as a freelance designer but now I am fully remote and it’s great! I don’t have the kids at home to worry about/look after and this means that I can travel a lot more than I had ever anticipated.
The imbalance of expectation in society for who takes the brunt of childcare has a huge effect on women in the workplace and whilst remote working helps it isn’t the answer long term. It didn’t cross my mind when I was younger that a potential future partner would be the one that could also help with childcare - I naturally assumed it would be me and this hugely informed my career choice. For me it has worked out well - the freedom I have is fantastic! - but I can imagine the frustration of those women who are working remotely purely because of inequality issues. We’ve come a long way but we also have got a long way to go still.
I’m a freelance communications consultant specialising on environmental issues. Currently the climate science comms lead for the European Climate Foundation. Gozo, in Malta, is my base but I travel around 1/4 of the year for work, and then there’s trips home to the UK to see family or the US to visit my boyfriend. Working remotely allows for so much travel! I’m sending this from Goa.
I made a choice to pursue a remote career in part to be able to make better financial choices for my future (I am lucky enough to have a base in a beautiful country, and live well for less money). Everyone I meet assumes I moved here for love. But as soon as I explain my thought process of deliberate choices: a better quality of life, greater financial freedom, a chance to construct my day in a way that feels productive but also personally healthy and full of opportunity for choice, they get it and realise moving for yourself is just as - if not even more - valid an option.
Wouldn’t it be nice if in the future, love wasn’t the first and only reason people could think of as to why a woman would make a radical lifestyle change / move? We have more to us than that!
I'm currently based in Serbia until the 12th March then I'll be in Macedonia - so basically The Balkans. I am a crowdfunding specialist working with startups, social enterprises and charities.
I think being able to work remotely gives us the independence to travel, have families, do whatever else we love too. It also stops us being in sexist patriarchal work environments as often people do not make a snap judgement about whether you are woman or not when your work is done remotely. We can be much more judged on our quality, which is obviously more important!
I am a free spirit and I think being able to work remote allows people to see life in a different way. I mean, I think it totally changes your point of view if you work 8 hours a day in a cubicle, doing things more as a robot than if you work in an environment that inspires you. It is obvious to me that your productivity will increase. Plus, with the internet, you can be in touch with almost anyone without having to be physically there.
I also think that working remotely also means that you need less physical office space, less equipment... (the list could go long) and therefore less costs as well as energy. All of this would benefit our environment, which is something I am really passionate about and so am also starting a blog about protecting the planet.
Remote work is a great way for women who want to have a family, take care of their children but not give up on their dreams or projects.
The more our female community grows, the more collaboration options we can create and the more we can help each other grow. I think that expanding remote work done by women can reduce the incidents where women don't get hired or promoted, because they are expected to give birth soon, or already have children and need to leave the office at certain hours (which unfortunately still happens).
These issues become irrelevant when we can work from our computers. What our client sees is the value we give them!
Natalia Komis is a holistic business strategist, serial entrepreneur, creative activator and the founder of Remote Mission. She is known for her entrepreneurial mission-led projects that empower the visionary leaders of tomorrow.
Her creative and holistic approach to business and marketing is revolutionising the way we see and do work and 'making a living'. While her unique and modern businesses, programs and concepts, allow others to embrace their individuality, discover their true calling and create and accelerate memorable businesses that solve problems in order to make a positive difference in the world.
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