25 Jun 2019 | 02.01 pm
Vodafone Smart Business Spotlight: Flexible Working
Embrace smart working and engage the loyalty factor
25 Jun 2019 | 02.01 pm
Louise Keague (pictured) of Vodafone Ireland explains the benefits of flexible working practices.
As a full-time working mother living in the commuter belt and with a husband running his own business, I’ve long since learned that flexibility and simplicity are the key to making things work. However, life before and after children are worlds apart in terms of balancing time and workload.
Returning to work after having kids can be a stressful and daunting challenge for many. We place high expectations on ourselves and think we should be able to commit to work exactly as we did before. But in many cases that’s just not possible, which can leave us feeling like we are falling short in all areas of our lives. The result is a constant state of stress.
Studies have shown that the biggest gender divide in the workplace occurs when women hit their 30s and 40s — in other words, their child-bearing years. However, when you introduce flexibility to the workplace and allow people to work smarter, you can remove some of the constraints and stressors that cause these divides.
Vodafone has long since recognised the value of facilitating employees in working flexibly. Six years ago, I returned to the workplace after taking a two-year career break following the birth of my second child. From the first day, I was provided with a laptop, mobile phone and remote secure access so that I was equipped to work flexibly. I was assured that Vodafone not only facilitates smart working but actually advocates it.
With an evening schedule of sports five nights a week in our house, along with two full-time working parents, time is at a premium. I have changed my working patterns to start at 7:30am and finish before the evening rush hour commute.
My husband gets the kids out to school in the mornings and I get to review homework and get the kids and myself out to our various sports activities in the evening. I work from home on Fridays and am fully equipped to attend conference and Lync calls. I can work collaboratively with my colleagues on SharePoint and over email, and be as productive as if I were office-based.
My husband runs his own financial advisory firm with a team of five, all of whom are equipped to work in the office or remotely with the benefit of Vodafone mobiles, Onenet Express and mobile data devices. His team is made up of working parents as well as a keen triathlete and Mount Everest mountaineer. They all value the flexibility they have in their work-life balance.
One Net is hosted in the cloud for feature-rich call management without expensive infrastructure. It allows you to delegate and control customer queries so that calls follow your team to fit your work schedule.
Although we both work in completely different industries, it’s clear to us that the agility smart working brings makes us a productive family team, with complementary and not competing schedules. Neither of us feel like we are short-changing our careers, our children’s’ development or our home life.
Work will always be there but with smart working you can manage your schedule and still do the things in life that give you personal satisfaction. Vodafone values the whole person; it invests in its people and recognises that trust breeds loyalty.
At a recent 30% Club Agile Working Masterclass, several industry experts shared their findings on the subject of smart working. All of them pointed to benefits such as increased employee engagement, financial return on investment, employee wellness and more frequently employee expectation.
It is no longer a question of why organisations should facilitate smart working. The question should be: ‘Why not?’
- Louise Keague is Service Relationship Manager in Vodafone Ireland