Happy Independence Day — in more ways than one
Tomorrow, many of us in the US will be sitting back, barbecuing, lighting sparklers, and jumping into some body of water to celebrate our country’s independence from an antiquated system put in place by the British (said in jest to poke fun at my UK friends).
What will I be doing? I’ll be celebrating the way most do, with my four children ranging in ages from 3 to 19, watching them play while I have a laptop and a phone at my fingertips. I am one of the lucky working parents out there who have the ability to maximize my time and increase productivity by declaring independence from a traditional office.
This is a fancy way to say I work from home for a global tech company — Flock.
What seemed impossible, just a decade ago, is now possible due to technology. As a global community, our advancement, especially when it comes to project collaboration apps and software, has impacted everyone, especially working moms and/or dads. Since I am a mom, breadwinner, and general manager of all things within the house, I can personally attest to the impact technology has had on my career and my family.
How was this made possible?
Today’s work-from-home capabilities have evolved and are much more sophisticated than conference calls from the late 90s, which is when I started my career. I, along with many of my colleagues in the industry, can now collaborate on documents in real time, and access email, IM, video conferencing, cloud storage, and other project collaboration technologies that make it possible for work to be done outside the office.
On a personal level, this technology allows me to shave off three hours on a daily commute, something that is very common in the Silicon Valley. Those three hours are precious and can be productive. I can use this time to develop a strategy for global expansion or to pick up a sick child from school.
From a personal point of view, the evolution of team communication tools is groundbreaking for families. I know a lot of parents who feel the same way. We are no longer tethered to one location with limited options. We are able to completely throw ourselves into our work without sacrificing quality, promotion opportunities, and/or our family life. I can take video conference meetings at 6 a.m. with colleagues in Mumbai (though I start off every conversation excusing my appearance) and collaborate with my team in Brazil at 3 p.m. I can hold discussions with my Russian team without worrying about the time difference or the commute. All thanks to modern day team collaboration tools!
But it’s not all sunshine and roses. Sometimes, I’m tired or I set the alarm clock for 6 p.m. as opposed to a.m., an event that occurred merely four days ago (shhhhh). That said, I don’t know a parent who hasn’t done this at one time or another. The beauty of working remotely, and via technology tools is that I can connect easily with my colleagues spread across the globe. My team doesn’t have to wait for me to do the 2½ hour prep/drive down to the office to speak with me.
The technologies I personally use enable flexibility and independence, and help me build my career. They also make me a better mother and US citizen. I can work on strategy sessions to expand Flock’s global reach, help the local clean up project, and then review my child’s report card at 2:45 p.m.
Technology has liberated me in ways that I never thought possible and certainly in ways our forefathers/mothers hadn’t even imagined. We built this nation on the backs of people (all people) who were brave, hardworking, and innovative. They challenged the norm so that their descendants could experience a new world, challenge the status quo, and even let some of us working parents “have the best of both worlds”.
We aren’t perfect…just ask my children who point this out to me on a daily basis. That said, I’m hopeful that we, as a nation and a tech community, will continue to grow, improve, and become even more family friendly.
Some tools that have helped me become a productive person:
- Google Docs
P.S. I am literally typing this from a friend’s home 100 miles away from San Francisco. My boy is turning six tomorrow and he wanted to get away from the fog of the Sunset District. Thank you, Flock!
Happy 4th, moms and dads.
Mother working outside in the sun
*Please note that these are my personal favorites and are in no way endorsed by my amazing employer FLOCK.
-Authored by Christina Andrea Sarracino, proud patriot, PR expert at Flock by day, and mother of four by night and day.