Every year, shy of every 1st day of January, many of us promise to make changes in our lives as we set new goals, we commit to ourselves to be a better Me.
One of the most common promises that I know many of us make, is to manage our family, home and work life better. We always make such big promises for the New Year, because a New Year always seems to bring hope for positive changes! But how can we do that?
As a senior manager, working in the tourism industry for the past 15 years, ( of which I spent most time traveling ), it would be an understatement if I said my life changed when I became a Mum to my twin boys 4 years ago. As many other working Mums, I know how challenging it is to balance work and home life responsibilities while hoping to feel like a human being by the end of the day.
So as many, I too am enthusiastic of the changes taking place in our new and modern society which is supporting Mums to keep working and encouraging new Mums to return to the work force, whichever way the case may be.
But I often wonder, where and how are Mums to find jobs which will allow them to be the working Mum we are asking them to be? A classical case of ''easier said than done!'' as many Mums will attest to.
I recognise that I have been fortunate enough to have had an employer who understood that women who are professionally driven will always be driven, no matter where their desk is. So it was a smooth transition for me to go from full-time office only to a full-time part office/ part home working arrangement once our boys were born.
As I see it, if my boss had been an employer who felt the need to keep to the traditional ways of doing things, he would have lost a valuable employee of the company to ‘’mother nature’’. The company would have had to spend time and money; searching for a replacement, interviewing potential replacement candidates, training the same. All of that and more without really knowing for certain if it will at all work out for the better in the end. So wasn’t keeping me in the best interest of the company, even if that meant going out of our comfort zone and offering me a flexible work arrangement which allowed me to retain my position and keeping up my good work?
As leading companies in the world are introducing more and more flexible work opportunities to both male and female workers, I suspect that the traditional 9-to-5 work day will become something of the past very soon. Many articles indicate that companies offering flexible and work from home jobs are not only saving on costs such as unoccupied office space but are seeing a substantial increase in productivity because their employees are happier and driven to get more done in less time.
Advancements in technology has given new meaning to what a typical employee is, as well as facilitates how a regular family operates, allowing the opportunity for women to successfully undertake jobs while simultaneously raising children. As methods of communication evolve daily, so do the opportunities for working remotely.
I have come across many Mums who and whilst very eager to return to work, struggle to find the right job opportunities which would enable them to avoid leaving their kids in day-care or with family members for many hours every day. This is not the happy balance between family and work life we all hope for in the New Year, is it? But sometimes we have no choice. Or do we?
More often than not, I believe it has more to do with finding the opportunities rather than making the choices. There are no choices to be made if opportunities are not available. So after speaking to several Mums and employers, it was clear to me that we had a gap.
Mums are running around in circles looking for jobs suitable to them, such as; part-time, flexible full-time, term-time, home-working or project based job opportunities, and companies who offer such work opportunities had until today no place where to advertise their vacancies with the knowledge that they would reach their target audience.
For the New Year I have started Jobs for Mums - Malta. A forward thinking job search engine which will strive to bring change to the community. A jobs search engine which promotes flexible and home work opportunities in Malta and Gozo.
JFM is followed by thousands of Mums looking for meaningful job opportunities which will allow them to have a better control over their work-life balance, and offers companies in various sectors a space to advertise their flexible job opportunities to an audience who is interested in their vacancies.
So my New Year’s resolution with the launch of JFM, is hoping that by providing the tools we will be taking our first steps in contributing to the future’s changing culture of working Mums and employers on our islands.
Katja Dingli Bennetti Founder of Jobs for Mums