I’m a working mum. Or a mum that works. I’m not sure which, but I do know my life is never dull. Exhausting? Yes. Dull? No. I was once told that being inside a working mum’s head is like being in the control room at Heathrow Airport.
With two young boys, a husband (in a similar role to mine) and a job I love, I find my days full to the brim with nappies, dirty school shoes, CIO meetings, Sales Strategy Meetings, Partner enablement sessions, wiping baked beans off the wall, sewing ‘World Book Day’ costumes, teaching children that ‘said’ is not pronounced how it’s spelt (Jolly Phonics will be the end of me) and putting roaming toddlers back to bed. All. Through. The. Night. And I’m incredibly lucky to work for a forward thinking company who have both the culture and the technology to allow me to do both roles.
Let me talk you through a typical work-from-home Monday.
5.30am – My alarm goes off, in the form of baby elephant feet stomping down the hallway, bellowing ‘I’ll be quiet!’; and so we’re up. Whilst Boy Child 1 entertains himself by clothes-lining Boy Child 2, I glance at my email to make sure the world hasn’t ended over the weekend. It hasn’t. It never does. But that’s working from home for you.
After breakfast battles are fought, shoes are found and breakfast has been recovered from the side of the sofa, we’re in the car, off on the school run, then home at such a speed my car comes into the drive sideways and I’m at my desk for my 9 am team call, powered by caffeine.
I’ve a team of ‘early in career’ superstars. Our weekly meetings are a time for us to get together and, through the power of video ingrained in our business and our products, I can see who had a great weekend, who is unsure about their next meeting, who needs a pep talk and who is feeling pretty excited about the task ahead (normally it’s the latter I’m pleased to share!). It’s at this point the little window at the corner of my screen with my own video image projected tells me I forgot to brush my hair…
Moving on, hair now in place and another coffee down, it’s on to a customer Webex, where a colleague provides a demo of our provisioning portal, with the best part of the demo being the fact that we were in different offices, all on video, communicating and collaborating with the customer in real-time over the network, truly showing the art of the possible. After sharing the documents in Cisco Spark, I’m off to the kitchen for lunch, making dinner for that evening and the following night too so my offspring don’t have to exist on bacon sandwiches whilst I’m away with work (Yes, Mr C. I’m looking at you).
Back at my desk and the day pushes on. One-on-one meetings with a team member, a call with our CEO (that my dog Lenny decides to join in with), some preparation for a customer pitch and then, in the blink of an eye, I’m yelling at my husband to pick up the kids before social services are called (you can be 40 minutes late before they’re called. I’m told).
Kids home, laptop down, reading time, food time, bath time, bed time… and I’m back online to finish my presentation before an early night ready for that 5.30am start and out for the next two days of customer meetings.
It’s hard at times, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Tell me, how could I be a mum with this sort of job, if the culture of sipsynergy didn’t allow it? And how could I do my job properly, communicate with my team, and actually SEE when they need my support, if we didn’t have the technology in place to support me? Imagine, all this with a two-hour commute added into my day. I’d either fail at my job, at being a mum or both.
And why should I have to choose?
Hosted collaboration allows businesses to not only work and communicate better, but also have the pick of the best talent in the pool, without restricting potential candidates by location or by the need to work away from the office.
Working mum who needs to be at home to keep the heart of family life beating? No problem. Team manager at home thanks to Storm Doris, but needs to have a 1:1 with a team member… why not? The IT Manager also suffering the wrath of Doris, and needs to redirect calls from the office but can’t get in? Want to check the effectiveness of your sales team from your customer site during a break? Go for it! It’s all in the cloud, it’s collaborative and it allows us all to live a more productive, more fulfilling life, both professionally and personally.
Why wouldn’t you want that?
As I crawl into bed at night, kids fast asleep (for how long is anyone’s guess), baked bean juice wiped from the walls, washing dry and folded, presentation written, forecast complete and team all motivated and happy (I hope!), I sigh to myself and think ‘Thank goodness for collaboration.’
Jemma Chambers Account Directs and Mentors at sipsynergy
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