Muslim woman working from home, flexible working featured

How flexible working is key for improving diversity in tech

Muslim woman working from home, flexible working

Diversity has been a historical challenge for the tech industry.

For example, a recent survey from mThree of 270 US business leaders found that 68 per cent felt there was a lack of diversity in their tech workforce. Nevertheless, female representation is on the rise and flexible working, such as freelancing, will be key for encouraging more women to join this profession. Here Ashmita Das, CEO of open talent platform Kolabtree, discusses why flexible working is key for improving female representation in tech.

If you were to search the internet for ‘tech’ jobs, you may be overwhelmed by the variety of job roles that exist. For example, Prospects.ac.uk lists over 25 jobs in its ‘information technology’ section alone, including cyber security analyst, information systems manager, IT consultant, software engineer, and web developer. Considering also that businesses in most sectors can benefit from some form of tech nowadays, it’s clear that the opportunities are many.

However, the tech workforce has historically lacked the same diversity. For example, a recent report from Tech Nation revealed that for every 100 people working in a tech job in the UK only 25 are women, an alarming statistic. Nevertheless, if we look at the broader picture, diversity is continuing to improve, and I don’t see reason for doom and gloom. On the contrary, there are now more opportunities than ever for aspiring female specialists.

New opportunities

The pandemic transformed the way that businesses operate and how many of us work. Remote and hybrid working became necessities, while companies’ HR policies and attitudes towards recruitment shifted to keep up with the evolving landscape — changes that show no signs of stopping. This shift has required companies to invest more in software and communications technology, and many are digitising at an increasing rate.

The opportunities for tech professionals arising from this shift are twofold. Firstly, it means that tech skills are now in very high demand, as IT experts are needed to develop, set up, implement and maintain these systems. Secondly, the fact that companies are now more equipped to work with external, remote professionals means that tech freelancing is a strong career option.

Freelancing offers an alternative route into the tech industry. As well as this, it provides several advantages that can help attract more and more female tech professionals and help them advance their careers.

Newfound flexibility

Control is a powerful motivator that’s important for life satisfaction and fulfilment, so being able to determine your own work and work-life balance is an attractive proposition. Interestingly, over 90 per cent of 542 freelance scientists that we surveyed as part of a social science research project said that flexibility was highly important to them. Freelancing gives people complete control over their schedule, pay, and the projects they work on, so only they are in charge of their careers.

On the other hand, traditional employment — having a permanent role in one organisation — can be very inflexible in terms of hours, so finding time for commitments outside the workplace can be a challenge. For example, if children need dropping off at school each morning, a typical 9-5 schedule can make it harder to accommodate. Meanwhile, freelancing gives skilled professionals the ability to work when and for how long they like and take on other responsibilities that life presents.

Career progression

Raising a family is one of the most rewarding things in the world, but it can sometimes be a hurdle for career progression. One example is parental leave, which often involves a complete severance from work for several months. Returning to work afterwards can be daunting and, when they do, some employees find themselves working a reduced number of hours. According to research by Ipsos Mori, almost three in ten women (29 per cent) thought taking maternity leave had a negative impact on their career, while less than half the number of men (13 per cent) noticed the same effect following paternity leave.  Therefore, there is a clear gender gap in perceptions towards the impact of parental leave.

Meanwhile freelance female tech specialists have the option of continuing to work during those first nine months, at a time and frequency that suits. Furthermore, when the usual parental leave period is over, the freelancer can increase their hours and take on more projects — although working and having a young baby will require some adjustments!

Building up experience

Another advantage of freelancing is having the power to expand your repertoire beyond what’s possible in a full-time permanent job. Traditional employers train staff to become skilled at their specific roles, for example maintaining IT systems in healthcare facilities or maintaining cybersecurity in financial firms. Therefore, in-house experts are often only exposed to the relevant skills required for that role, with limited opportunity to diversify.

However, freelancers can carefully select their projects and gain exposure to a wider array of experience. For example, a computer network expert that’s worked for schools has the freedom to work on a completely different project, setting up or improving a system in another field entirely, or maybe work for a start-up. The new projects are still within the freelancer’s skillset but will raise new opportunities to expand their reach.

Getting started

For aspiring freelance technology experts, becoming an external consultant can be as simple as registering with a platform and creating a profile. Once registered, the freelancer can upload a CV detailing the various projects they’ve worked on and set a desired rate. From, there, they can bid for projects that appeal to them and submit a proposal on how they would offer their services.

As an open talent platform targeting scientific and technology specialists, Kolabtree has over 15,000 experts registered across 175 countries. Its tech specialists have experience working in fields including cyber security, computer and data security, computer networks, wireless communication, computer software, artificial intelligence and machine learning.

Why not take the first step on your freelancing journey today? Simply visit https://www.kolabtree.com/, click on ‘Join as expert’, and start browsing projects.

Ashmita DasAbout the author

Ashmita Das is co-founder and CEO of Kolabtree, the world’s largest platform for freelance scientists. Ashmita founded Kolabtree to level the playing field in science, by helping small and medium-sized businesses access the skills and knowledge that they need and has been instrumental in its rapid growth since its founding in 2015. The platform now has over 15,000 freelancers on its books.


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Attitudes towards flexible working must change – it must become the norm

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Article by Niki Addison, Customer Success Director at Babble

17 years ago, just four months after the birth of my daughter, I had to return to work from maternity leave.

I requested to move to a four-day working week at the company, but it was rejected. I had to go back five days a week, work long hours and deal with a strenuous commute.

When my second child was born 12 years later, I was already working four days a week at a tech company, which prided itself on flexibility and its people. My productivity wasn’t affected by the shorter working week. Since then, I’ve learned that in most cases, shorter working weeks have little to no impact on productivity.

My taking on a managing director role four days a week, without affecting the business, changed how I approached recruitment. I soon realised that giving opportunities to the right person for a role was more important than where, when, and how they worked.

All I look for is a smart, focused and responsible person. I just don’t understand why a business wouldn’t go for someone like that. Regardless of where and how many hours they work, their business impact is going to be huge. Those who are working shorter weeks will generally be productive because they don’t have the luxury of going at a slower pace. While we tailor a role to fit in with less hours, this doesn’t mean less responsibility, just a slightly different scope of work If, as a business, you don’t think like that then you’re missing out on incredible talent.

Flexibility also provides you with the benefit of a happy workforce who know they never have to ask if they can take two hours out of their day for their child’s nativity play or sports day, for example. At Babble, staff don’t need to ask management – they just put it in their diary and go. We trust that person will pick up any tasks later in the day, no questions asked. Client meetings can be moved, and I trust my team to pick up their work at the right time. If they were ill, they’d need to move the client meeting – so what’s the difference? I trust them to judge what simply cannot wait what can be moved. If I don’t trust them to do their job, why are they in the job in the first place?

As a mother, and speaking from experience, any other option leads to guilt. You either have mum guilt, or the guilt of knowing you’ve snuck off to watch the play or attend sports day. Neither sits well with me personally. Our way, the right way, keeps talent in organisations and industries and builds trust and honesty with staff.

And this isn’t just for working parents. If an employee who doesn’t have children wants to change their working patterns, it’s an equally valid request. . My only consideration is what impact it has on our business, and can we facilitate this? If we can, then we should, because the colleague’s wellbeing is the most important consideration.

The pandemic has brought about a lot of talk about four day working weeks, hybrid work and more. However, we’d fostered flexible work pre-pandemic and weren’t forced into a major change when it came to flexibility. Of course, there was an impact when we were all made to work from home full time, but not in the same way as most businesses across the country.

However, the wider working world is going to have to get ready for this flexibility now people are returning to offices.  Employers must begin to anticipate questions and know how their wider industry is dealing with similar questions. It wouldn’t sit well with me if the business I worked for didn’t accommodate this flexibility.

In fact, if your industry doesn’t believe in flexibility, people will leave and find something they can do on their terms. If employers are going to be tough about this, they’ve got to accept they will lose people. And that’s going to impact their industry over time. Flexibility is the answer to retaining and attracting this talent.

It is true that technology has made it harder to switch off in some ways, but the flipside is that it has also made flexible working possible. Technology is only going to become more adaptable, and it would be strange if our working patterns didn’t keep up with this evolution. With the right parameters in place, technology should be something which empowers you to live the lifestyle you choose, rather than a sap on your energy and time.

When I made the request to work flexibly, 17 years ago, deep down I knew it’d be rejected. I know I don’t ever want to be in a position where I have to turn down a similar request from a colleague – I know what it’s like to be in their shoes.


Muslim woman working from home, flexible working featured

Why working from home has been great for women in STEM

Muslim woman working from home, flexible workingI know from my own experience as well as what my female peers and former students tell me, that some young women who have completed further education in science, technology or engineering subjects find the work environment they enter as graduates to be very male dominated and in some cases quite intimidating.

This can lead to dissatisfaction at work, not progressing up the career ladder as they might and even career changes out of the industry.

Working from home, as the vast majority of people in all sectors including STEM have been doing on a global scale during lockdown, can mitigate against this. While the challenges of working from home – remote inductions for new starters, limited opportunities for team creativity e.g., brainstorms and bouncing ideas off other people, social isolation and never ending video conference calls – have been widely discussed since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, working from home can actually be hugely beneficial for young women in STEM careers especially. Not only can it help to build their confidence during the early-career stage, it is also suitable for those who are more introverted and prefer to be an individual contributor at work rather than a team player.

I suspect that companies which allow and even encourage employees to work from home where possible in the long term will find that this is seen as an attractive incentive for young women establishing their careers in STEM. The importance of doing so is clear as the number of women currently working in STEM careers in the UK is depressingly low at less than 15% despite the fact that more women are studying technical subjects at higher education level.

At the mid-career stage, the flexibility of being able to work from home can be hugely attractive to those women who are juggling career and family, meaning that companies offering this are likely to retain more female employees than those that don’t. From my own industry experience, I know that many electronic engineering jobs and tasks, especially those in design and more specifically in IC design, as well as work in planning and conceptualisation phases can be done from home. I therefore cannot see any good reason for female and male employees engaged in these roles, or these tasks for part of a project, not to be able to work from home if that is their preference.

Of course, I appreciate that working from home does not work for everybody, for example those with young children being cared for by someone else in the home during the working day may find the close proximity distracting, and others prefer to break up their working day with a commute, change of scenery and more varied lunch options. The crucial factor is that companies develop flexible cultures and policies that cater to different staff needs and preferences and can evolve as individual circumstances change over time. During lockdown this has particularly meant more flexibility and tolerance for both female and male staff who have been balancing childcare and home-schooling responsibilities while working from home. This kind of support is crucial in encouraging more women into engineering careers and to stick with those careers.

For me personally, the main reason I switched from industry to become an educator was to gain a better work/life balance. I saw that in order for women to secure leadership roles in STEM companies a huge amount of time needed to be invested at work and out of hours, and that this was particularly challenging when working in a global organisation requiring meetings to be attended with multiple teams working across different time zones. Being able to do at least some of this from home would be hugely beneficial to women like I was at that point in my career and I think would result in fewer changing careers.

One challenge to working from home that I have heard from STEM companies regarding highly sensitive design work, is how to protect intellectual property outside of the office space and secure corporate VPN and cloud storage connection. Developing a “Work from home” policy that includes measures for protecting company information is one achievable solution, and one that I believe is well worth making given that the prize is more women entering and staying in the industry and contributing their attentiveness and tenacity which make them great assets.

Pooh LingAbout the author

Pooh Ling E is an Assistant Professor at NMITE (New Model Institute for Technology and Engineering). She graduated with 1st class honours as a Bachelor of Electrical and Electronic Engineering from Universiti Putra Malaysia in 2000. She then spent six years working in the electronics and semiconductor industry before completing a PhD in Electrical and Electronic Engineering at the University of Nottingham, followed by a further two years in industry. During this time Pooh Ling developed skills in NI LabVIEW, MATLAB, Product Development, Research and Development (R&D), IC (Integrated Circuit) testing, communication system testing and validation and has five years teaching experience prior to joining NMITE.


If you are a job seeker or someone looking to boost their career, then WeAreTechWomen has thousands of free career-related articles. From interview tips, CV advice to training and working from home, you can find all our career advice articles here


woman remote working on video conference

How to get a remote working role in tech

By Verónica Miñano, Head of Talent Acquisition, Kwalee

woman remote working on video conferenceOne of the great benefits of working in the tech industries, and something that has been brought into even greater focus during the global COVID-19 pandemic, is the potential in these roles for remote working.

With tools like Slack and Zoom already commonplace, there are many opportunities for tech-savvy professionals to build their careers beyond the traditional office setting as employers become increasingly open to remote applicants.

This includes ourselves at Kwalee, as we have made a commitment to embracing remote work indefinitely following our productivity while working under restrictions related to the virus.

So if you’re looking for a role in tech but you believe that your future lies outside of the traditional office setting, here are my top tips for identifying and securing the right remote-working opportunity for you!

#1 Identify your role

It almost goes without saying, but even within tech, some roles are better suited to remote work than others.

In our experience of transitioning to remote work over these turbulent past few months, we have had some individuals and teams whose roles rely more heavily on in-person collaboration and they have been extremely keen to return to our office.

Others, meanwhile, have had very little trouble adapting and have enjoyed the productivity and comfort of working from home. This is why we have begun our foray into permanent remote work by opening only certain vacancies to remote candidates, and you will find across the board that there is more openness to working from home when it comes to certain positions.

Think about the tasks you are expected to perform every day in your job and whether you would be able to perform them as effectively in a remote setting. If you conclude that this isn’t the case and yet remain committed to pursuing remote work, you might consider switching to an adjacent discipline requiring a similar skillset, but with more opportunities for working from home.

Speak to friends or colleagues who have made the transition to remote work to learn more about how the nature of their work changed when they moved away from the office and consider whether you would be willing to make such changes yourself. An employer will want to know you have given serious consideration to this transition, so show them you are ready to take responsibility!

#2 Find a supportive employer

Just as employers expect certain things from their remote-working employees, you should find a company that will be willing to support you -- wherever you make your workspace.

For instance, while continuing to grow our team throughout the coronavirus pandemic, we have been making sure to send any necessary office equipment to team members who need them, to make their temporary workspaces more comfortable.

Just because you’re not working at the office, you should not feel disconnected from the rest of the team! As a parent, I am 100% understanding of why remote working holds such appeal for some people and we want team members to feel valued wherever they are based.

Make sure that your employer is of this mindset and is prepared to give you the necessary support to do your job.

#3 Seek inspiration and start a side project

This one is particularly relevant if you are not currently working in the industry you’re pursuing a role in, but seek out role models who are currently working in your ideal roles and see how they use platforms like LinkedIn.

Look out for any insights they share on how they got into their positions and see what you can learn from them.

It will also be a big help to have a side project that’s more aligned with your desired field, if you’re looking to change careers. For instance, when hiring game designers we are always just as keen to see what they have made in their spare time as well as any formal training they have done.

This is even more applicable when it comes to remote roles, since having worked on something in your own time shows that you can be productive and motivated outside a traditional working environment!

Our team at Kwalee is growing all the time and you can find all our open positions, including our remote working opportunities, here.

Verónica MiñanoAbout the author

With more than a decade of HR and recruitment experience, first in the engineering industry and more recently in gaming, Verónica Miñano has built Kwalee’s Talent Acquisition team from scratch and has overseen the company more than tripling in size in less than four years. She is passionate about how different personalities and skill-sets can be best combined to create a harmonious and creative working environment.


If you are a job seeker or someone looking to boost their career, then WeAreTechWomen has thousands of free career-related articles. From interview tips, CV advice to training and working from home, you can find all our career advice articles here


She Talks Tech podcast on 'Remote Working – Surviving & Thriving' with Mairi McHaffie

Listen to our latest She Talks Tech podcast on 'Remote Working – Surviving & Thriving' with Mairi McHaffie

She Talks Tech podcast on 'Remote Working – Surviving & Thriving' with Mairi McHaffie

Today we hear from Mairi McHaffie, Personal Impact Expert and CEO of Scene Change Creative Consultants Ltd. 

She will be discussing our need to adapt and change to working from home on a more regular basis and the strategies and working patterns that help us to succeed.

If you want to find out more about Marie - you can connect with her on LinkedIn or go to SceneChange.co.uk.

LISTEN HERE


‘She Talks Tech’ brings you stories, lessons and tips from some of the most inspirational women (and men!) in tech.

From robotics and drones, to fintech, neurodiversity and coronavirus apps; these incredible speakers are opening up to give us the latest information on tech in 2020.

Vanessa Valleley OBE, founder of WeAreTheCity and WeAreTechWomen brings you this latest resource to help you rise to the top of the tech industry. Women in tech make up just 17 per cent of the industry in the UK and we want to inspire that to change.

WeAreTechWomen are delighted to bring this very inspiring first series to wherever you normally listen to podcasts – and the first three episodes are now live!

So subscribe, rate the podcast and give it a 5-star review – and keep listening every Wednesday morning for a new episode of ‘She Talks Tech’.

Produced by Pineapple Audio Production.


Lockdown & the Future of Remote Working | Adventures of a Unicorn

Wild Code School_remote learning, woman learning to codeUnderstandably, we are all getting a bit neurotic about what the “new normal” will look like post Covid.

We’re all running out of ways to use the word “unprecedented”! Second only to the guesstimates on just how cataclysmic our economic forecast looks, is what Corona-virus has done to our hither to held as irreversible societal and working norms.

As someone that started a new role as Corona-virus hit the UK, I feel well placed to comment on how overnight compulsory homeworking has affected a scaling tech business.

It is probably the stuff of a particularly detailed anxiety nightmare to take on a senior role, spend 10 days with the founder for onboarding, to then be stranded eleven thousand miles and an 11-hour time difference apart. In March this year, this was exactly my personal challenge. Over the past few months, I have come to appreciate the many genuine advantages of a remote team based from home, that I intend to make permanent in my territory.

Despite much anguish and hand wringing when lock down was first announced, I reflected that plenty of businesses have successful teams that do not work in the same four walls. Whilst we have a relatively modest global head count of 20, split across 6 offices in 6 times zones, there are plenty of much larger organisations who are, to say the least, disparate.

Walmart, which has one of the largest headcounts in the world, employs 2.2 million people in 27 countries, which doesn’t seem to have done last year’s $3.8bn of profit any harm. I know many of the investment banks, who are not constrained by budget, have senior leaders that hot desk permanently. More recently, in response to Covid, tech stalwarts Google and Facebook have announced they expect their teams to work remotely for the rest of the year. As I wrote in an article for Fintech alliance, in Spring this year, frankly tech businesses should be a masterclass in managing relationships remotely.

Lockdown has been over-whelming positive from a commercial perspective. Whilst I am sensitive to the devastation that Covid has reeked for businesses and individuals worldwide, we are in the truly privileged position that Coronavirus has positively impacted our turnover. As a digital offering, the majority of the UK population being stuck at home was very helpful, as was a broad distrust of traditional financial infrastructure positively impacting the crypto markets. It has been somewhat surreal that our busiest ever months have been over the lockdown period.

Whilst at time it felt like the four horsemen of the apocalypse were enthusiastically saddling up, personally there is much about full time home working that I will seek to preserve.

Like many people, my schedule gained a whole day a week from not having to commute. Thus, I was able to fill my diary with high quality opportunities to trouble shoot small issues and think deeply about broader strategies issues — hugely useful, of course, when the world is in meltdown and constantly changing.

I will miss encountering a problem, to spend a few minutes walking around the garden with a cup of tea until the solution presents itself. A walk to a grotty third-floor bathroom just won’t achieve the same! I would suspect moving forwards, we will all be picky with our time, and only meet someone physically, if we can justify the travel time, be they 10 minutes or 10 hours away, when a zoom call will do.

In terms of corporate culture, it is now broadly accepted you can efficiently run a geographically disparate headcount. I’ve loved some of the igneous methods that have emerged for keeping morale up, including zoom-hosted team quizzes, “dress up Friday”, and internet broadcast HIIT classes. Frankly, I feel much closer to team members in different continents, now I am acquainted with their living rooms, spouses, kids, cats and lounge wear.

Moreover, it should be a time to shine as people managers, and competent management during the bad times binds people in a way that doesn’t happen when the going is good. I hope, too, that the tech obsession with London wanes — sky high rents, and zero work/life balance in offices long overdue a refurb but considered trendy, is long overdue a reconsideration in my opinion. It is not true that only London based businesses succeed, as the growth of tech hubs in Manchester and Birmingham will attest.

I have a hunch that the business environment will be friendlier and more inclusive. Pre-Covid you would be mortified to have your child or DHL delivery interrupt an important online meeting — now it seems par for the course. We are all entitled to hobbies, relationships and to live in a property/area that we like, and more flexibility in the work environment would go a long way. In my opinion, tech businesses should be trail blazing in this respect!

Adventures of a Unicorn is a business blog written by Katharine Wooller, Managing Director, UK & Eire, Dacxi.com. It documents the daily life of tech start-up in hypergrowth.

Katharine WoollerAbout the author

Katharine Wooller is managing director, UK and Eire, Dacxi – a digital crypto fintech platform specialising in bringing cryptocurrency to the ‘crowd’.

Katharine Wooller has had a long UK fintech career, as Investment Director at industry leading peer-to-peer lender, and in senior roles at a specialist investment banking SAAS supporting tier one banks, asset managers and hedge funds.  More recently she has held advisory roles for blockchain businesses and is currently MD for a retail crypto exchange. She leads the Women Who Crypto initiative.


If you are a job seeker or someone looking to boost their career, then WeAreTechWomen has thousands of free career-related articles. From interview tips, CV advice to training and working from home, you can find all our career advice articles here


Woman typing on laptop, flexible working, gender bias

Why COVID-19 will bring more opportunities to employees at work

Rachel Gawley, CTO, Whitespace

Woman typing on laptop, flexible working, gender biasThe COVID-19 crisis has created a global uncertainty within the workplace, leaving many employees concerned about what this might mean for their jobs in the future.

In April, it was expected that one in four employers would make redundancies within their business, and in May after the UK’s furlough scheme was put in place, HMRC reported that 6.3 million people had been temporarily laid off by 800,000 companies. Despite these unsettling times, the current pandemic could be a gateway to a more flexible future which will unlock a myriad of opportunities for employees at work.

Since the majority of organisations have been forced to work from home, it has been essential for employers to put their trust in all of their staff. As a result of this, there has been an increase in employee empowerment, motivation and drive to succeed. Also, with significantly less travel time, many employees have had the flexibility to work wherever and whenever to suit their lifestyle at home. This allows employees to be more efficient with their time, therefore suggesting that remote working may be the way forward and that offices are a thing of the past. With another wave of mass redundancies expected soon, this may highlight an individual’s ability to transfer their skills into various industries, offering them different career pathways.

Optimising flexible working at home

Businesses have been accessing the positive impact of remote working with the possibility of implementing it as a long term solution. Remote working has allowed employees to optimise their workload due to the flexibility of working from home. Firstly, giving employees more freedom such as less working days and hours will not only increase efficiency and productivity, but it will also increase employee morale. It will give employees the flexibility to manage their workload in a way that’s most efficient for them, in terms of their chosen lifestyle, as well as the feeling of being trusted by their employer boosting their morale. Recent research suggests that working from home makes employees 35-40% more productive, resulting in a 21% increase in profitability. Also in normal pandemic-free times, 82% of remote workers have a reduced stress level due to feelings of gratitude, inducing positivity in the workplace.

Transforming employees' work ethic and shifting behaviours in the workforce will help to re-connect them to the business, keeping them motivated with their work and invested in the company's goals. In addition to this, removing workplace politics and noise interruptions in the office will increase employees performance as the number of distractions will be reduced. With remote working employees will have more time for their social life, focusing on their families and personal interests, as well as improving their general mental health.

Working anywhere and everywhere

Remote working eliminates the barrier of being limited to job opportunities based on geographic locations. This enables employees to be adventurous with their career choices and more ambitious with job applications. In turn, it also enables employers to hire a more diverse, talented workforce, to bring in a wider range of skills into the workplace. Reducing the need to travel and commute not only allows employees to apply for jobs based in any location, but it also reduces stress and unneeded costs, with the average individual saving 13% more as a result of working from home.

In addition to this, remote working opens the possibility of travelling the world whilst working, giving individuals the opportunity to explore around the world without the worries of having to take time off work or not completing their job well. Working abroad acts as a gateway to network and meet new people, giving individuals an opportunity to escape and start a new adventure. With scenic views, a new culture and a relaxing ambience, working abroad can be the perfect way to maximise productivity and have a fresh, positive attitude to work.

Introducing AI and programming to the remote workforce

Finally, artificial intelligence and programming will positively impact remote working and productivity by providing a portal of new opportunities for employees. Workers will be able to utilise this advanced technology to manage and accelerate the time spent on complex tasks. One example of this is AI’s ability to analyse data and present findings in a more simplistic form. This level of intelligence will allow jobs to run more smoothly which will increase efficiency in the workplace.

There is a concern that robots and artificial intelligence oppose a threat to jobs, however, they will actually replace tasks. For example, AI is significantly quicker than humans at analysing calls, data, completing market research and sales calls. This means these tasks will be completed at a more rapid pace, allowing employees to utilise this information to be more efficient and better at other tasks. Therefore, employees can use their skills more wisely on bigger tasks, or even encourage employees to diversify their jobs and branch out to new occupancies, developing a range of new skills.

With the myriad of benefits surrounding remote working, implementing it permanently into the workplace seems like the perfect long term solution. From a happier, more motivated workplace to the flexibility it offers employees. Remote working will act as a gateway to a more productive, efficient workplace as well as significantly increasing employees mental health

Rachel GawleyAbout the author

Dr Rachel Gawley is Chief Technology Officer of Whitespace and Programme Director of the Emergent Alliance. She has over 15 years’ hands on experience with technology and software engineering working in startups, academia and the big four. Her focus is on emerging technologies and mobile solutions. She is a technology leader experienced in building and nurturing teams to create meaningful solutions to complex problems. Her previous roles include CTO of a MedTech company, head of R&D focused on mobile tech, Research Fellow, and most recently leading the creation of a corporate venturing process in a technology consulting company.


If you are a job seeker or someone looking to boost their career, then WeAreTechWomen has thousands of free career-related articles. From interview tips, CV advice to training and working from home, you can find all our career advice articles here


stylish woman working from home, style tips, flexible working

51% of tech employees say working from home has improved their work-life balance

stylish woman working from home, style tips, flexible working

51 per cent of tech employees say working from home has improved their work-life balance, according to a new report from UK-based tech-for-good developer, Culture Shift.

The report found that the events of recent months have positively impacted the culture of Britain’s technology industry, with 39 per cent saying it has actively improved since they transitioned to working from home.

As half of the UK’s workforce transitioned to remote working earlier this year, organisations were thrust into the spotlight with many standing by to see if they were able to make the transition seamlessly without detrimental impact on their culture. The same report also uncovered that 34 per cent of employees in tech said working from home has had a positive effect on their mental health, while 30 per cent said sentiment towards their job has been positively impacted and 33 per cent confirmed their relationship with their boss/employer has improved since they started working from home.

However, while many have welcomed the remote setup, 50 per cent of employees in tech said they have been feeling isolated while working from home.

The report also found that Imposter syndrome and self-doubt are rife, with 26 per cent of employees in tech feeling these more so working from home than they did previously

Progression has been impacted for the worse, with 31 per cent of tech employees saying they’ve been negatively affected when it comes to promotion opportunities. 24 per cent of employees in tech also said working from home has negatively affected their training and development.

Gemma McCall, CEO and co-founder of Culture Shift, said, "With many organisations across the country now thinking about how they can bring employees back to the office safely, we wanted to hone in on the general consensus on remote working these past few months."

"While there have been some minor issues, it’s generally been quite successful."

“Remote working has positively impacted employees’ wellbeing and is something employers should absolutely be considering as they plan for the future – especially now the success of this approach has been clearly proven."

“While there are of course some key factors organisations need to work on, like continued commitment to training and development, as well as progression, employers should be ensuring they have systems and tools in place to empower their teams to remain productive, creative and supported, even while they’re working from home.”

Speaking about the report, Olive Strachan MBE, founder of Olive Strachan Resources Ltd, global business woman and diversity and inclusion specialist adds, “There’s no doubt the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in challenging times for businesses."

"With many teams working remotely, organisations have had to improve their communication, keeping employees informed of developments, while demonstrating empathy, and providing coaching plus support for their mental health and general wellbeing.”

“The research found that most employees have credited their organisations with having a positive culture in the current climate, with many benefitting from improvements to their productivity, overall wellbeing, creativity, work-life balance and relationships with key stakeholders, such as their employer.”

To see more insights uncovered by the research or to download the full ‘Maintaining workplace culture in a rapidly changing environment’ report, visit info.culture-shift.co.uk/maintaining-workplace-culture.


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Harness the agile workspace and empower your users

 

flexible working, working from home

Flexible working isn’t just about being available for doctors’ appointments and Amazon deliveries.

Utilise the agile workspace to drive your users’ creativity, productivity and collaboration, and help them achieve a better work-life balance.

The complex challenges that face modern businesses are changing the ways in which we communicate and collaborate. The recent National Work Life Week highlighted how lines continue to blur between work and home life, and provided the opportunity for both employers and employees to focus on well-being both at work and at home.

How can your business deliver a meaningful work-life balance that fosters creativity and innovation, increases productivity, and gives your users an opportunity to recharge away from the daily bombardment of emails, meetings and conference calls?

Moving On From Flexible Working

Part of the solution to achieving a good work-life balance lies in flexible, efficient working enabled by an agile workspace. But enabling an agile workspace means more than just giving users laptops and sending them off into the world. As a business owner, it’s important to think about what a truly agile workspace can mean to your business, your users, and your clients.

Many businesses seek to provide flexible working for their users. Flexible working is a trend that’s been around for some time now; hot-desking and being able to work anytime, anywhere is highly desirable for employees, and employers who want to retain and recruit the very best skills where competition is fierce invariably seek to adopt this agile working style.

However, we believe that the core principle of flexible working – delivering users the same experience, wherever they are – needs to be revisited if businesses really want to tackle today’s complex challenges head on.

Introducing the Agile Workspace

At Six Degrees, we believe that the agile workspace represents the future of work. Delivering users the same experience wherever they are is great, but it fails to address a key aspect of our working lives today: that we have different working needs at different times.

Say you’re a Project Manager, and you’ve been tasked with presenting a complex project plan to your company’s Board of Directors. In order to prepare, you’ll need to engage with a number of stakeholders who will be actively involved in the project execution. But then you’ll need time to go away and really focus on creating a concise, compelling presentation that provides a comprehensive overview of the project execution plan, its risks and its benefits. And finally you’ll want to deliver an excellent presentation to the Board, some of whom may be in different offices or even continents.

Each of the three discrete phases of this project will require its own unique working structure in order to achieve the best results. Simply grabbing a laptop and smartphone and ‘getting on with it’ is not enough: to deliver effectively, it’s essential to equip yourself with tools that empower you to work efficiently and appropriately, anywhere.

Harnessing Technology to Inspire Humans

The latest communication and collaboration technology empowers users to work in a manner that’s most appropriate to their immediate requirements. It empowers users by recognising that they need time to communicate and collaborate, but they also need time to concentrate and contemplate.

So how can this technology help you deliver your presentation to the Board? Let’s look at each of the three phases one at a time.

When you’re working with other stakeholders to create the project execution plan, you’ll need to work collaboratively, making dynamic changes as the parameters of the project are fleshed out. Agile workspace technology facilitates collaboration across multiple channels, allowing you to introduce video calls to instant messaging chats, embed ‘click to call links’ in documents, and use all available collaboration methods in a straightforward, intuitive way.

Once you’re ready to create the presentation, you may want to get away from the office to work from a space that suits your personality, drives your creativity, and gives you time to focus. The agile workspace allows you to achieve the same ubiquitous experience in all locations and across all device types. So whether you’re at home, in a shared working space, or at your favourite local coffee shop, you have access to the required tools in a consistent manner.

And when you’re presenting to the board, agile workspace technology delivers conferencing facilities through a single platform that provides a seamless experience no matter where you are, or where your audience is located.

Each of these three phases have their own unique requirements that need to be addressed. However, an agile workspace solution should also be seamless and continual. Simplicity is key – users should be able to access the tools they need, when they need them without unnecessary complexity, and with a consistent user experience throughout.

Empower Your Users and Drive Innovation

The agile workspace will help your business get the best out of your users no matter what their location, function, age or experience. It will help them work better collaboratively, whilst giving them the time they need to focus away from the office.

And it goes beyond basic flexible working to help your business deliver a meaningful work-life balance that improves employee wellbeing, which is so important in today’s fast-paced working environment. In 2016-17 12.5 million working days were lost in the UK due to work-related stress, depression or anxiety. This serves to highlight the importance of initiatives such as National Work Life Week, putting in stark relief the need for all businesses to take tangible steps towards improving work-life balance for their employees.

The way we work is evolving at an unprecedented rate. Adopting an agile workspace will help you improve employee wellbeing whilst meeting today’s complex business challenges head on, driving competitive advantages and empowering you to achieve your business’ strategic goals.

About the Author

Matthew Brouker is Group Product Director at Six Degrees, a leading cloud-led managed service provider that works as a collaborative technology partner to businesses making a digital transition.

Six Degrees works collaboratively and builds long-term partnerships through exceptional services that match its clients’ needs. It continually innovates the right solutions to enable clients’ brilliance.

For more information, visit www.6dg.co.uk