The continuation of Moore’s Law over the last five decades has not only meant that your smartphone is considerably more powerful than the Apollo 11 Command Module that put Armstrong on the moon but that instead of going to your work physically, you can now travel virtually.
With a technology network that spans most of the developed world in real-time that has even begun to incorporate objects, it is clearly evident that we will all coexist in an ever more technologically connected sense. This brings great opportunities for flexible working and is something that is gaining widespread recognition; in June 2014 all UK employees became entitled to request flexible working provided they have been at their workplace for a prescribed period of time.
When Dell announced its ‘legacy of good’ in 2013, one of its commitments was to have 50 per cent of its workforce working flexibly by 2020. Working flexibly from home has so many benefits from practical productivity gains such as reducing commuting problems to happier employees who take less time off work. This trend of home working continues unabated as we become more accustomed to digital communication and telecommuting.
The benefits to women entrepreneurs
Women entrepreneurs have greatly benefitted from this transition. Whereas before some struggled to balance childcare with conventional hours or education, a new generation is utilising technology to efficiently work remotely while at the same time caring for children. There is now a whole host of resources available for the entrepreneur, from flexible workplaces, to timebanking or skill swapping, which are strongly supported by multiple funding options. Mothers are free to educate themselves online during unsociable hours and can proceed to develop a lean startup which is cheap to fund and can be initiated with minimal staffing.
Supporting the grassroots revolution
We are committed to helping women develop flexible careers be it through online collaboration, advice or offering accommodative working opportunities. The government is backing this grass roots revolution with schemes such as start-up loans and other grants and mentoring programs because the benefits of a more productive and balanced economy are so compelling.
It is wonderful to see such strong support from UK universities that are empowering young men and women by giving them as many opportunities as possible to develop a successful career. The breadth and depth of support for entrepreneurs from Cambridge Judge Business School is outstanding from their short Enterprisers courses, to their Social Incubator and Accelerator programmes. This approach has already produced many successful startups and will continue to grow.
Just as Copernicus, in the sixteenth century, ushered in the era of a heliocentrism and away from geocentrism, we too are technologically moving away from a world where we rotate around a rigid workplace to one that rotates around us.
Esther Radnor is Director of Mum Plus Business
More about Mum Plus Business
Mum Plus Business is the leading company dedicated to helping mothers develop flexible careers. They work with national organisations who promote flexible work and offer a free online Collaborate Program helping their members to exchange or ‘swap skills’, find support and form local business partnerships. The website also offers start-up resources and a job board dedicated to flexible work opportunities.