Whilst the gap between men’s and women’s working habits has closed in the last decade, there are still some differences in the way the genders operate. The shoulder pads and power suits of the 80s gave men a never-before-seen run for their money when it came to providing a powerful presence around the office, but in recent times women have adopted a more feminine approach to office dressing and attitude without losing credibility. Add to the landscape the huge wave of ‘mummy businesses’ and female sole operators – largely courtesy of the internet – and the way women approach collaboration in the workplace has definitely changed.
A recent study (2012) of 2500 adults in North America conducted by online-meeting service provider TeamViewer and Harris Interactive showed that “women are more likely to see the benefits of attending meetings, virtually”. Whilst both men and women in the study obviously saw the pros of virtual meetings, the percentage of women respondents was notably higher across all metrics.
Here are the results:
There are probably a range of reasons for this bias but I would hazard a guess it’s largely because many women (including those with full-time jobs outside the home) have family responsibilities which make online meetings more convenient than in-person meetings. The flexibility afforded by teleconferences is a huge factor for working mothers, giving them the option of at-home meetings and conferences outside standard business hours without the necessity of travel.
For sole operators, of which there are many females in Australia, there is a huge advantage in building ‘virtual teams’ to collaborate on projects, share ideas and network. Often, the people in these teams are not centrally located, so the use of teleconference services is highly advantageous. Flying or driving all over the country is not economical nor an efficient use of time.
I would suggest another reason for the female bias towards conference calls may be because many women don’t particularly like travelling or staying in hotels on their own – often a requirement when invited to a physical conference.
Interestingly, Kate Lister, a telecommuting researcher and author (www.workshitfting.com), notes that - “the people who regularly work from home offer the greatest potential to reduce global warming, energy usage, and traffic congestion. They're also the ones who derive the most work-life benefits from telecommuting.”
Could working women be onto something then? I think so. The protection of the environment and the reduction of stress through better work-life balance are both huge factors for today’s working generation; the implication of not considering these issues will impact generations to come.
If you are interested in changing the way you work, reducing the impact on the environment, increasing efficiencies and saving costs, then contact us to find out how easy it is to get started.