Last week, I talked about how Silicon Valley and the tech industry, in general, is biased against women.
It was to battle this that myStartUpCFO was started. In August 2013, we began with the social objective of integrating women back into the workforce, without robbing them of family time. We actively work towards closing the stark gender gap, where a woman is not made to choose between a booming career and an equally demanding personal/family life.
Over the years, we’ve observed that women often quit work to raise their family. As they move out of the workforce, they tend to lose part of the skill-sets that they had earned with so much effort: negotiation, analysis, math, logic, and collaboration. As a result, the company loses a dedicated employee, mainly because of domestic difficulties. She also ends up unhappy because she had to give up a thriving career to bring up her family. Why choose when both are possible? At myStartUpCFO, we believe that the idea of working along a timetable is an industrial era concept and doesn’t work in today’s digital world.
As a result, we provide a virtual and flexible office which helps women stay in the workforce, even when family or other externalities demand more of their time. Our workforce is predominantly women and they have complete flexibility to work from home. This also allows us to tap into talent outside of a 100-mile radius.
If you can’t trust your employees, why hire them in the first place?
This is where it all begins. We enable our employees to work within the framework of the company guidelines but with the ease of timings that suit them.
The benefits of such a setup are manifold:
One, it tells our people that we believe in them, and we trust them to do a competent job without a lot of handholding. This pushes them to deliver, to be resourceful, and figure out problems on their own without escalating everything to their supervisor.
While building higher capacities, it also maximizes productivity and minimizes attrition: two of the biggest challenges most companies face.
It also brings our overheads down, the ones pertaining to a physical office space, allowing us, in turn, to offer the cost advantage to our clients.
However, I’ll be the first to admit that this setup is not without its share of challenges.
With about a hundred people spread across the globe, it’s difficult to foster a close-knit culture and encourage open communication. People often don’t feel a connection to the entity and lack an informal channel to share.
We are actively focusing on initiatives that will encourage conversations: from a company newsletter bringing the latest on-dits from our different units across the world, as well as Google+ Communities to mentor, guide, and foster a deeper connection.
If any of you here are dealing with the challenges of a remote team, or has questions about how this would work in practice, I’d be happy to talk, and help avoid the pitfalls that nearly got us the first time we did this!
At myStartUpCFO, we are proud of the supermoms that work with us, and we happily tell our clients to expect crying kids and barking dogs in the background when on a call with our teams!