I’m not afraid to admit I’m a little technologically-challenged and often ask my teenagers for assistance so I was rather excited to attend the Females In Information Technology and Telecommunications (FITT) luncheon at The Emporium Hotel Brisbane on September 26 2013, to see what I could learn.
FITT is a not-for-profit organisation which consists almost solely of female volunteers whose purpose is to inspire women to achieve their aspirations and potential at all levels.
One of which is the ability to juggle work, life and family and do them all well; more specifically, the ability to telecommute (ie work from home or flexible hours) in a hyper-connected high-tech world.
As a mother and career woman, this is a subject matter of intense interest.
Being seated at the main table amongst the speakers gave me ample opportunity to chat informally to these women who have been game changers in the teleworking area. Jo-Anne Mann – Suncorp, Leith Mitchell – IBM, Liz Bushell – Salesforce.com and Hilten Parmar – VMWare.
The single common thread among the speakers was their passion for their jobs, the creativity with which they approached the subject of teleworking with their respective bosses, the care they show for those working under them and the driving desire to implement more teleworking opportunities in their companies. Evidently, Suncorp and Salesforce.com have limited their office space on purpose to encourage more teleworking. They do however bring their teams together for regular training days to keep alive the team spirit.
Telecommuting for working mothers makes a lot of sense but it is fascinating to hear how much more efficient and happier the employees are; as also the greater volume of work that is produced. In fact the teleworking industry is estimated to bring 3.2 billion to the GDP by 2020, a figure that astonished me.
Then again, women are excellent multi-taskers. Why are we even surprised?
During question time I was struck by Jo-Anne Mann’s frank adage that “work should fit around your life, not your life around work.”
Evidently, Jo-Anne, Leith and Liz have “let loose”, getting involved in some form of extreme sport.
Bungee jumping, anyone?
They also spend quality time with their families; which I believe is a good example to set for our children, especially our daughters, who will soon enter the modern workplace.
As a mother to five daughters (that’s right!), this event inspired and encouraged me about the future. Our daughters (and sons) will have opportunities that weren’t easily available to us but that we have worked hard to gain, therefore giving them a better quality of life.
To find out more about FITT or to get involved, visit www.fitt.org.au.