Work-from-home mums are the ultimate multi-taskers. Their juggling acts far exceed the full-time commitments of a touring circus. How can they get the support they need?
Women make up 71.6 per cent of all part-time employees in Australia. Many of them operate from home. According to a recent Women’s Global Entrepreneur Leaders report, Australia is ranked second in the world behind the US in terms of the number of start-ups created by women – the majority of which began life around the kitchen table.
Now more than ever, these women need opportunities need to plug into the working world without the burden of leasing and staffing commitments.
The fantasy of working at home
For many women, the gloss of working full-time in a city-based office loses its sheen as they juggle childcare and spending quality time with family. The prospect of ditching the daily commute and working in PJs sounds like a dream in comparison.
For those who want to be near their children during office hours, accomplishing housework and tending to young children between responding to emails sounds like an ideal compromise. But the broken concentration often contributes to more stress and less effective work, not to mention a sense of isolation from business peers.
What working from home really looks like
Loss of access to office facilities (both technical support and the mental stimulation that comes from being in a professional environment) can make working from home a whole lot less attractive. Calls are missed when babies are crying or you’re in the car on the soccer run.
There’s nowhere suitable to meet with clients – your “boardroom” table is in the kitchen and it’s usually piled with folded laundry! Pitches, proposals and acquittals never quite make it to completion by deadline as you are forever chasing a decent chunk of uninterrupted time to execute them. Even simple “urgent” business calls get postponed if nap time is over – babies and toddlers have an uncanny knack of knowing just when to vocalise their hunger or frustrations!
One way to solve this problem when working from home is the virtual office. Not only is it a perfect option for working mothers bound at home, it’s also an ideal solution for mobile and casual workers.
The benefits of a virtual office
A virtual office allows you the best of both worlds. It combines the flexibility of working from home (where your personal routine dictates your hours), with the option of a calm professional office environment (complete with hot desks, meeting rooms, internet and administrative support). It ensures your business remains professional and easily accessible to clients – even when you can’t be.
In a nutshell, a virtual office is a cost-effective alternative to leasing and furnishing an office space – especially in the early days, for start-ups when money may be especially tight.
The Office Space
A terrific example of a virtual office space is The Office Space, a multi award-winning share workplace company in Sydney’s inner-city suburb, Surry Hills.
Offering all the vital elements of office support your business could need to look sharp and stay flexible, their virtual offices services range from personalised call services, to mail management by reception staff, a dedicated business landline, message taking and call transfers.
The Office Space also offers plenty of in-real-life facilities too – meeting and boardrooms, hot desks, as well business administration support including research and data entry.
The Office Space strives to both support and connect all small businesses by leveraging real world and online tools in a way that encourages the sharing of information, and the transaction of business in a way that allows small businesses to grow from start-ups to major global companies.
The result is a less transient, more stable and deeply connected workplace – essentially, everything a home office is not!
(This post was written by The Office Space)