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Women for Women : Just how effectively can working mothers juggle the work/life balance? / Laura Abrar

by on May 7, 2013 in Businesswoman, Latest News, Special Issue, Women for Women

Laura Abrar writes

She sent shockwaves through both the industry and her own multinational corporation when she declared mothers should not work from home and ended all remote working options at Yahoo.

Yet let’s remember CEO Marisa Mayer is a working woman herself – with children – so surely has a master plan.

Some of us will relate to it spurred on by her promoting gender equality in the workplace and showing women they can ‘have it all’, some will shy away and see her as a cold, power-mad machine, just glad she’s not our boss. But one thing we can all take away from her controversy in the media is the necessity to

Slamming the sisterhood?
Many have criticised Mayer for her abrupt decision to enforce an ‘office only’ policy, believing it’s unsupportive of women trying to balance work/family ethics.

Some believe her short maternity leave and desire to be back in the office immediately after giving birth shows her as power-hungry, prioritising business over home-life. (She took a week or two of leave and also decided to work from home in that time.)

We live in a workaholic culture nowadays that leaves little time for family or even personal health, preventing either men or women from ‘having it all’.

How many times have you caught a late train home to see people catching up on their e-mails and polishing off a packet sandwich which is either going to be an extremely late lunch or convenient supper before slipping into bed to grab 5 hours sleep before getting up and succumbing to the rat race all over again the next day?

Business over brood?
We have to applaud her for what she is attempting to achieve – reassuring Yahoo shareholders that the CEO’s top priority is turning around the struggling business.

Let’s be honest, women or men who work from home often get distracted when the place they eat, sleep and relax suddenly becomes the place where deadlines have to be met.

How many times have you been involved in a conference call with a remote worker that doesn’t have kids wailing, dogs barking or background noise from coffee shops mudding the communication?

Professor at New York University and author of The Unfinished Revolution: Coming of Age in a New Era of Gender, Work and Family Kathleen Gerson comments: ‘She conveys the image of someone who’s perfectly capable of combining her personal life and her public responsibilities without one derailing the other. That’s a message we should applaud.’

CRO and founder of LaSelle Network, a Chicago-based staffing and recruiting firm also agrees and believes that when an entire company’s struggling and needs to change its culture, you need their physical presence:

‘Camaraderie is built by working together. You wouldn’t have a basketball team and have 5 players working in separate gyms on their jump shot. They might be better shooters but they wouldn’t know how to work together.’

And let’s remember that it’s not just Mayer who has risen to the top without compromising her maternal instincts. Hewlett-Packard’s Meg Whitman and Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg both prove it is possible to climb the corporate career ladder while the maternal clock is still ticking.

Mobile CRM: how you can have it all
Mayer may want to take a leaf out of her own book when it comes to mobile devices. She may be facing a tough challenge in trying to turn around the digital company’s fortunes and is likely to focus on building a stronger mobile presence as one way to accomplish the goal.

Another challenge however, is the one that she faces in the popularity stakes amongst her employees. Yahoo might be a pretty iconic place to work, but it’s certainly not the only place and frustrated working mums who feel Mayer has betrayed their trust and shunned their efforts may be seeking out new opportunities.

Mayer might not be able to keep everyone happy, content and productive – perhaps it’s too much of an ask with such a diverse and voluminous range of employees in such a huge infrastructure, but there are ways that every company can ensure their workers are contributing to the company’s efficiency while not in the office.

We all know that CRM systems are key to retaining a satisfied, loyal customer base yet few of us utilise the solution across a wide range of platforms.

A number of top commercial CRM packages now offer mobile integration; it’s simply a matter of taking advantage of them and encouraging staff to scope it out between meetings or on the weekend.

Here’s a quick rundown of the major commercial CRM systems compatible with laptops, tablets and Smartphones, helping you to keep track of leads and schedules when you’re out of the office:

  • SalesForce
  • Microsoft Dynamics
  • Oracle
  • Zoho
  • SugarCRM
  • Maximizer

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