October’s ‘Work and Family Month’ reinforces virtual offices for the mompreneur movement

October 20, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Mompreneurs are an amazing phenomenon in our decade. Many moms, after leaving the workforce to start a family, have utilized their managerial, marketing and business skills to start at-home businesses where they can be both ‘mom’ and ‘CEO’ at the same time. Canadian organizations such as Mompreneur Magazine and MomCafe are highlighting the impact moms are having in the business world. On Canadian TV we have role models such as Arlene Dickenson, the ‘dragon’ investor on Dragon’s Den who started as a single mom taking on the corporate world. Tamara Taggart, Vancouver’s CTV weather girl even has her own mommy blog on the CTV site, promoting her dual role as both mom and celebrity TV anchor.

However, the mompreneur movement stems from a long-known concept called the work-life balance. And, believe it or not, October was officially named in the U.S. as National Work & Family Month. The goal of celebrating work-life balance in October is to “raise awareness among employers about the value of work-life effectiveness as a business imperative.” The message is that being flexible in the work place is good for business, and more organizations should take the opportunity to “try telework, condense a workweek, join a wellness program or organize a workplace volunteer activity.” (According to the press release at http://www.awlp.org/awlp/nwfm/nwfm-home.jsp)

The great thing about today’s day and age is that technologies exist for a work life balance with a virtual office. Virtual offices use technologies such as remote phone answering systems, e-mail, and video conferencing to conduct daily corporate activities from anywhere in the world. A mom could be on vacation with her family and still have her virtual receptionist taking her calls and forwarding only the important ones to her overseas number. Not only that, all her voicemails can be sent to her e-mail inbox so that while the kids are fast asleep, she can sit under the moonlight on the beach and keep her business deals moving. Besides being a vacation backup, a virtual office and virtual assistant can do wonders for her while she’s at home too!

A virtual office is not only for the woman who runs a business while running a family, but also a great opportunity for an employer to participate in the work-life movement by allowing mom-employees to work from home and not lose any of the productivity gained from being physically in the office. Many companies with sales reps do this already – they equip their team with smart phones and laptops so they are always connected to head office. When calls come in through the main switchboard, it’s easy for a virtual office provider to transfer the caller to the work-from-home mom at any number. Reports can be done online, and the commonplace use of e-mail allows for the quick transfer of documents. Secure e-courier services are also now available on the market for highly sensitive documents.

According to Deborah Frett, CEO of the U.S.-based Business and Professional Women’s Foundation, “while one person may like her work and life to flow seamlessly through out the day (check email, wash laundry, research grants, grocery shop…) others may prefer a clear division with traditional hours and a proper desk.” So the idea is to let moms juggle their day in the way they are personally most effective. The Business and Professional Women’s Foundation themselves went completely virtual earlier this year and implemented a “Results Only Work Environment”, imitating the Best Buy morale where “Work is no longer where you go, but what you do” (according to Frett, see http://www.huffingtonpost.com/deborah-frett/ten-tips-to-create-a-flex_b_745611.html).

Today’s generation of educated, smart and business-orientated women are proving there is no need to give up family life for a great career. And businesses are discovering their talent and taking on the philosophies of the mompreneur and work-life balance. Virtual office services are here to do their part, and aid the movement for women in the workforce!

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