FIRST THOUGHT: Flexibility in the Workplace
One of my girlfriends recently recalled her time of being pregnant with twins, relating that she had to go to OB appointments on her lunch break so she didn’t tap into her paid time off. On the flip side, another friend just accepted a job that pays her to travel the world and write all about it. We lead different lives and may be at very different stages, but no matter your industry, one thing’s for sure: Women certainly wouldn’t turn down a little increased flexibility in our careers. Here’s to attaining that elusive work/life balance!
WOMEN IN NUMBERS: 70 Percent
When women are in key leadership positions, companies accomplish more at every level. Sadly, about 30 percent of women drop out of the workforce before assuming a leadership position. According to research, 70 percent of those women claim they would’ve stayed in their roles if they were provided more flexibility.
WOMEN TO WATCH: Anna Auerbach and Annie Dean, Co-founders of Werk
The concept of work flexibility isn’t new. The challenge comes in figuring out how to apply flexibility to our busy work lives. Thankfully, today’s Women to Watch are bringing flexibility to the forefront in tangible ways and aiming to change what work looks like in the modern age. Anna Auerbach and Annie Dean are the brilliant minds behind Werk, an organization that’s changing the narrative for women in the workplace.
Werk, dubbed a place where “flexibility and ambition coexist,” offers insights about how to customize your workday by using an operational framework called the Flexiverse, which gives employers and employees the tools to understand work-flexibility concerns and communicate about those issues using the same language.
By utilizing structured flexibility, job terms are clearly defined, which helps eliminate those often emotionally charged convos with the boss about why you appear to be ditching out of work early for other important life stuff, like your kid’s baseball game. Werk breaks down what job flexibility really looks like, whether it’s a DeskPlus job, meaning you keep standard office hours but can work at a different location for a stated percentage of your workweek, or other flex jobs, like TravelLite, TimeShift and MicroAgility gigs that are defined by specific employee objectives.
With the help of technology and a unique certification program, Werk helps employers create cultures focused on flexibility. And through Werk’s members-only career platform, ambitious job seekers learn how to find, negotiate for and succeed in flexible positions.
Anna and Annie know what it means to struggle to attain work/life balance. Anna is a former business consultant and social-impact COO. She’s overcome some impressive challenges, from being a child refugee who moved to the U.S. knowing just one English word to becoming a Harvard Business School grad, mother and successful entrepreneur. Annie, also a working mama, was previously a corporate real-estate attorney who spent countless hours closing billions of dollars in deals.
The women met in a peculiar way that I’m totally going to copy. Annie asked her friends to introduce her to the smartest women they knew. After getting connected with Anna, who shared her concept for Werk, Annie knew she was business-partner material and the two got busy launching their flexible-work-focused organization.
There’s no doubt flexibility is the future of work, and Anna and Annie are the perfect champions of it. They understand that flexibility does not equate to laziness. In fact, it often results in increased productivity. It doesn’t hurt that when offered more flexible career options, employees are more satisfied with their jobs. Flexibility is simply a concept that, well, works!
QUITE THE QUOTE
Annie Dean’s favorite quote comes from one of her former college professors, George Saunders, who said:
“Do the things that incline you towards the big questions, and ignore the things that would reduce you or make you trivial.”
This is Melinda Garvey signing off until next time. Remember, ladies, empowered women empower other women. Share On the Dot so more women can have a voice. Thanks for getting ready with us.