Best Tech for Flexible Work Schedules and Telecommuting
The 2014 National Study of Employers found that flexible employment is on the rise. With telecommuting up 17 percent since 2008, the nine-to-five model of employment is changing, allowing employees to have greater agency over their time and productivity. This is great news for mothers who often need flexibility to help make staying in the workforce possible. Such changes to the workforce would not be possible without the help of new technologies. My own company, Inkwell, makes avid use of such technologies, matching professional mothers who desire to work remotely from home with companies that are looking to contract part-time or flexible full time experts in different fields. By adding flexibility into the compensation package, employers get access to talent they otherwise couldn’t afford. The Inkwell model necessitates the use of multiple telecommuting platforms but with the ever-increasing access to such technologies, the Inkwell model for remote works can be implemented anywhere.
Below are five of some of the best systems and technologies for looking to develop a telecommute option for their employees.
Chances are that if you work from home, you have used Dropbox. For those who don’t know, however, Dropbox is a file hosting service that offers cloud storage, file synchronization, personal cloud, and client software. Dropbox essentially acts as an online hard drive that can be accessed anywhere you have an internet connection. Recently, Dropbox has teamed up with Microsoft in order to increase the number and quality of services for Microsoft Office files on Dropbox, including the ability to edit files via the web. This new feature means users are no longer restricted to the computer where the software was installed, resulting in increased user mobility.
Google Drive has many similar features to Dropbox but its main advantage is the ability to share projects with others, work simultaneously, and see edits and revisions in real time. At the same time, you can online chat with your coworkers to make suggestions, ask questions, and work as a team. Additionally, Drive can open up to 30 kinds of files inside your browser, even if you do not currently own that system on your computer. Google Drive is also available for mobile devices as well as being tied to your email allowing for optimum mobility.
Adobe Connect is Adobe’s new and improved solution to web conferencing software. Adobe Connect organizes its meeting rooms into ‘pods’, each one focusing on a different feature, for example chat, whiteboard, note, etc. Each conference can be customized with different pods to fit the meeting’s needs. Adobe Connect has also been praised by its ability to work well on multiple web browsers and computers making it perfect for those choosing to work at home. There is a learning curve to working with Adobe Connect, but Adobe offers multiple training tools and videos online which are sure to help.
Just as the name suggests, Evernote is a note taking software. With 100 million users, Evernote has clearly made a name for itself. Designed for note taking and archiving, Evernote allows you to make a note out of anything, from a piece of text, to a full webpage, PowerPoint presentations or even a voice memo. All these notes then become searchable, making projects easier to organize and manage. Additionally, Evernote for Business lets multiple users upload notes to a shared Evernote host so that the entire staff has access.
Toggl is a time-tracking app that provides teams and individuals with easy-to-use time sheets and time tracking reports that are then saved to a central system for easy multi-user access. Toggl is a free app that gives you access to an unlimited number of projects and clients. Additional features include color coding, setting billable rates, dividing teams into user groups, and the ability to track time while offline. Toggl is built for teams and for easy use – just download the app and start working right away!
The growing number of companies allowing for flexible work schedules is indicative of the many benefits surrounding telecommuting, not just for the employee but for the employers as well.
In 1990 the accounting firm Ernst & Young implemented flexible work schedules as a way to retain female employees. The firm found that female employees were leaving the company at a rate of 10-15% higher than their male counterparts. Over 20 years later, female employees leave the company at a rate that is only 2 percent higher than their male co-workers. Employee retention saves companies money and increases the number of women in leadership roles. With technology like the above at our fingertips, telecommuting is not only cost effective, it’s a no brainer.
Manon DeFelice is a Mom, an attorney, and the former executive director and general counsel for a women’s rights foundation. She is a dreamer, a believer, and an agent of change. Women’s issues are her passion, and it is with this mindset that she created Inkwell, which matches highly successful mothers with flexible, high-level, project-based work for nonprofits and small business.
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Founder & CEO
Who I Am
I am a Mom, an attorney, and the former executive director and general counsel for a women’s rights foundation. I am a dreamer, a believer, and an agent of change. Women’s issues are my passion, and it is with this mindset that I created Inkwell.
In some respects, we are lucky. Our generation of women has been offered choices. Some women stay home and raise their children with single-minded effort, while others work... Continue Reading
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