Recent announcments by Yahoo and Best Buy to end work-at-home policies, and on-going feminist debates such as that between Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg and Anne-Marie Slaughter, a former senior State Department official, about whether or not women can “have it all,” are renewing focus on the role of women in the work place. Many of these discussions address how women can find the best balance between work and home lives and the challenges women face in doing so.
Advancements in technology have enabled women to blend their personal and work lives more seamlessly than ever in order to be more efficient at both jobs. The Internet, texting and mobile computing allow women to access the information and people they need where ever they are. Moms are more connected with work than ever before because of these technologies. They are also more connected with home while at work than ever before. But do these increased connections actually help women in the quest to strike the perfect balance?
Based on the findings from our Mobile Moms survey (conducted online with women ages 18-54 who use mobile devices including cell phones, smart phones and/or tablets, in July 2012), we’ve found that it’s a divided world out there for most working mothers.
Half of Mobile Moms are employed. These employed moms tend to have school aged kids, while those with infants and todlers are more likely not working.
- 54% of Mobile Moms are Employed, with 33% working full-time, 21% working part-time or self-employed.
Employed moms are increasingly working from home and doing personal things at work.
- 40% of employed moms say that the amount of work they do from home has increased over the past few years (24% say it has increased a lot). 53% say it has remained about the same.
- 36% of employed moms say the amount of personal things they do while at work has increased over the past few years. 56% say it has remained about the same.
- On average, 22% percent of Internet access by employed moms outside of the workplace is done for work purposes.
While half of employed moms feel they are adequately balancing work and home responsibilities, half do not feel this way.
- 46% of employed moms feel their work and home life is balanced. 56% say they are less balanced.
- 55% of employed moms say they are able to keep the line between their work and home life clear and separate. 46% feel there is overlap.
Employed moms are using mobile technology to keep up-to-date and help manage their lives.
The top 4 benefits moms report as a result of mobile technology in their lives are:
- Always keeps me connected/informed, 71% full time, 73% part time
- Helps me manage life more efficiently, 49% full time, 51% part time
- Simplifies life, 46% full time, 43% part time
- Entertains me, 47% full time, 39% part time
What does it mean for business? No matter where you you land on the continuum between Sandberg’s “you can have it all” and Slaughter’s “you don’t want or need to have it all,” if you have women in your workforce, you will have to recognize that they are increasingly blending work and personal lives, and need effective tools and policies to help achieve an optimal balance. The idea of a 9-5, in-office work day is obsolete, especially in our highly mobile and online networked world. Businesses will need to find more creative ways to maintain their cultural cohesion apart from the mere physical presence of an individual. I believe all of this starts with conversations, but “conversations” in the mobile, networked way; not just in-person but by phone, webcam, video chat. By enabling actual conversations, companies can then expand what it means to develop a shared history and experience even if everyone who it matters to may not be in the same room.