by Diane Kalmanowicz, COO of Global Marketing, Citrix
Remote work opens up new opportunities for women everywhere. On International Women’s Day, learn how hybrid work flexibility helps employers and employees.
ARTICLE | 6m read
Mar 7, 2020
The impact women are making in business is powerful. The ‘career woman’ evokes a variety of emotions and characterizations in our culture. She is both admired and judged and is navigating career and life choices that are often scrutinized at every turn. The singular persona of the ‘career woman’ assumes one size fits all but that is simply not the case for women navigating a career. As business leaders look for ways to tap the full potential of their workforce, it is key to understand both what women in business have in common and what enables them to succeed as individuals.
As International Women’s Day approaches, I’ve been reflecting on my own journey and how remote work technology has influenced my path and is empowering many women in business to chart their own unique path too. It’s an exciting time because innovation, technology and shifts in corporate culture are uncovering new opportunities for women, and remote and hybrid work is providing the flexibility that levels the playing field for women everywhere and goes beyond one size fits all.
My career in marketing began with a big choice: If I wanted to work for a large agency and kickstart my career, I had to move to a large city and physically be where the opportunities were. I landed in San Francisco with my first job at J. Walter Thompson, and the first few years were akin to earning a graduate degree. I was learning the ropes in real-time, acquiring skills and experience in traditional branding and advertising that could only be achieved by long hours and hard work inside the office.
And the education didn’t stop there. As online businesses emerged, the marketing landscape quickly evolved and I had the opportunity to work on a marketing campaign for one of the first online brokerage companies, launching my career in digital marketing. In order to advance my career, I had to physically move again…and again. My career relocations included Atlanta, Miami, San Francisco, and Fort Lauderdale. Ultimately, I found my way to Citrix and haven’t looked back.
After joining Citrix, technology not only changed how my work was done, but it also created new ways to work from anywhere and on any device. Remote work technology like video conferencing apps and digital workspaces gave me the flexibility that didn’t exist early in my career. No longer tied to my desk in an office, I was able to create my ‘way to work’ and that benefited my company and my family. That flexibility allowed me to advance my career, maintain space for my personal life, and do both from wherever I chose to live and work.
The opportunities made possible by remote and hybrid work technology are impacting women’s careers across the world. Today, remote work offers women at all stages of their careers the chance to work dream jobs for big companies without making the difficult choice to relocate. Younger women entering the workforce no longer need to face the economic strain of moving to a big city to land a great job. And women with established careers and families can avoid the stress of uprooting their households to take advantage of new opportunities.
Hybrid work is also a game changer giving women the flexibility so crucial for them to thrive. Business leader Shanna Hocking described the dual pressure of family and career as “women are supposed to work like they don’t have children and mother like they don’t work outside the home.” But hybrid work empowers women to get work done wherever life takes them, from the home office to the kitchen table to the carpool line. This helps remove the stress and guilt that comes with balancing career and family choices, giving women more space to think, to create, and to unleash the power of our full potential. In short, remote and hybrid work has opened more doors for more women.
The flexibility made possible by remote and hybrid work is crucial not only for women, but also for their employers. When organizations trust women to get it done, they do. They may not do it in the most conventional way or at the most conventional times, but when given the freedom to chart their own path, they soar. That said, women are often less inclined to self-promote at work than men, which has likely contributed to the gender gap. Organizations may be overlooking women who are more qualified and ready to lead but not as aggressive in asking for the opportunity. Strong mentoring programs can be really valuable to instill confidence and help facilitate the relationships needed to ensure companies are identifying the best candidate for their opportunities.
It’s also important for employers to recognize the unique challenges women face. For example, McKinsey’s Women in the Workplace report indicates women have made important gains in representation and leadership since the Covid-19 pandemic began, but they also reported feeling more burned out than men. In my experience, demands were at an all-time high during the pandemic because women felt the responsibility of running the business during a time of unprecedented uncertainty, but also felt the weight of ensuring their teams and co-workers were adjusting to the impact it was having on their lives. This dual role created added responsibility and pressure.
As your organization looks for ways to empower women to succeed, remember that one size doesn’t fit all and recognize the unique challenges women face in today’s environment. And, most importantly, don’t underestimate the value of flexibility – it is a proven way to drive commitment and productivity. I do not regret the sacrifices and relocations I chose in my early career, but I’m also excited about how remote and hybrid work is empowering women right now. For women at any stage in their career, the technology is here, and the possibilities are endless —I can’t wait to see what’s next!