By Ella Jennings – Marketing and Content Executive at GCI
It’s 1969, and Tammy Wynette did absolutely nothing for feminism with her postulation that if you’re a woman, you should “Stand By Your Man” (don’t worry, this isn’t one of those blogs). It was the end of the Swinging Sixties, when attitudes towards women were starting to change; indeed, the Equal Pay Act 1970 forbade “any less favourable treatment between men and women in terms of pay and conditions of employment.” Fast-forward to 2018 (with the aforementioned law superseded by the Equality Act 2010) and while this country song remains a karaoke classic, it’s much easier to be a woman in today’s society. But while attitudes, laws and even technology have evolved to bring more women into the workplace, it’s not always that straightforward.
Data from PwC’s Women in Work Index shows that in 2015, the split of women and men working in the UK was pretty much equal, but the number of women working part-time was 15% higher compared to men. Only 9% of these men work part-time; conversely, it’s 26% for the ladies – which is doubtless a direct result of childcare responsibilities – but delve even deeper into PwC’s economic insights and you’ll see there’s more to this than meets the eye. Indeed, “29,000 women who return to the workforce on a part-time basis will be underemployed, meaning that they would prefer to work more hours if flexible working opportunities were made more widely available.”
In short, women want to work…so what can we do to enable this? Take my boss as an example. She has two adorable children and works four days a week – something which would be completely unachievable without technology. She’s someone who has to juggle a huge amount of projects, has a ton of emails and needs simplicity, and Microsoft Teams delivers all that in one space. Teams allows her to securely and easily access shared Marketing files, meaning she can be just as productive at home as in the office. She can see who is updating which documents in real-time, making version control a thing of the past, and can feed back on work instantaneously which improves our collaboration dramatically. She also has a team of six direct reports, and we’re spread across three different GCI offices – Poole, Derby and Watford. Without Skype for Business, she would have to rely solely on telephone or even just email (which, let’s face it, is practically the “snail mail” of the 21st century). In an age of instant gratification, everyone in the team finds it extremely useful to be able to contact each other at the click of a button, as well as “presence” letting us know whether someone is available, away from their desk or in a meeting. And since we all travel between offices, meetings and events regularly, it’s invaluable that all our files and communications are all in one secure place and available from anywhere – even on mobile devices. This is particularly useful for my boss, as she can use Teams on the move to see updates to our projects as they happen without trawling through emails or worrying about version control of content, allowing her to better manage her time. Ultimately, it makes communication and collaboration so much easier for her, affording her far more of a work/life balance than if she always had to be in the office.
At GCI, we think it’s important to practice what we preach, and Teams and Skype for Business aren’t just solutions we recommend to our customers; they are vital for our everyday productivity. And it’s not just advantageous for working mothers; I’m single with no children, and I benefit every single day. For instance, I’m currently in the process of moving house, and on days I had viewings I was far more productive working from home rather than commuting into the office. With Skype for Business my team didn’t have to guess whether I was sitting at my computer or out at a viewing, and Teams allowed me to keep track of the content I’m collaborating on at home just as easily as if I were sitting at my desk. Effectively, this meant less time away from my computer and more time working – a no-brainer! It’s also much more palatable to make up the time spent away from work when you’re in the comfort of your own home, rather than stuck in an office after-hours on your own. Without the use of technology it’s a very real possibility that we might not work for GCI, but thanks to these industry-leading solutions from Microsoft we are not only happily employed, but the flexibility we have probably makes us better at our jobs.
In 2018, women are successful scientists, lawyers and CEOs – all jobs where females were thin on the ground in Tammy Wynette’s day. Solutions like Microsoft Teams and Skype for Business can empower your workforce, in turn encouraging more women into the workplace – because if businesses can’t adjust to the needs of the modern working woman, who knows what talent they could be missing out on? It doesn’t have to be hard to be a woman; like those rebuilding The Six Million Dollar Man, “we have the technology” – now let’s use it.
To find out more about how Microsoft Gold Partner GCI’s solutions can help you empower both men and women in your organisation, get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ella Jennings is a Marketing and Content Executive at GCI
Ella has a varied background incorporating all aspects of the Marketing Mix, but has a real passion for engaging and precise written communications. She regularly works with Account Managers and Technical Specialists from across all of GCI’s five capability pillars and enjoys all forms of writing, from fun Social Media posts to Case Studies with a highly-technical focus.