The New Zealand Tech Alliance is a group of independent technology associations from across New Zealand that work together to ensure a strong voice for technology.Visit Tech Alliance
NZTech Women recently met for lunch in Auckland. Weirdly’s co-founders Dale Clareburt and Keren Phillips joined us to speak about shifting attitudes and how to best design your life to reflect your personal priorities. Having run successful businesses prior to Weirdly, both are fierce advocates for making brave choices and taking risks to create a life that allows you to do what you are passionate about.
During lunch, Dale and Keren outlined that it is important for businesses to consider remote working and flexible employment to better attract women into boardrooms and senior positions. A primary consideration, in their opinion, is taking ownership and making conscious life decisions – there is empowerment in owning your choices.
Keren says it is exciting to watch women begin to demand and deliver a bigger presence in male-dominated sectors. However, when building working relationships in a male-dominated environment, Dale and Keren suggest you choose your own way to bridge the gap. They recommend reflecting on your choices and create a commonality, whether it means taking up kite surfing or golf, or not. The choice is yours. Consider also, the bigger picture in whether you choose to remain in the environment as you strive for your goals or should you look for other opportunities that are more in alignment with you.
In considering how to keep women, who are so often in the minority on boards and executive teams in these roles, Dale and Keren say flexible working conditions are essential.
Keren and Dale shared these key areas as factors that will help to effect change:
- Achieving balance at home contributes to better balance at work. Value your own attention and actively choose how you spend your time.
- Finding a way to make additional skills we have acquired more measurable and quantifiable will become increasingly important to all industries looking to recruit the best candidate. For example, multi-tasking and emotional intelligence are often developed through life experience not study!
- Women need to actively include other women and support them by sharing their success and positive experiences.
- It is important to learn how to break down barriers in a positive way through open communication.
Keren talked about how a change in our personal situation often leads to increased pressure in the work environment. When she feels the pressure rising, she takes a couple of hours to explore realistic alternatives until she reaches a workable solution. She also strives to keep everything in perspective. Facing a big risk? What does the worst case scenario really look like? Having a bad time? Change what you are doing, because what’s the worst that could happen?
Meanwhile, Dale has shared that she achieves so much more in the first three days of the week, yet a standard working week is five days. Many of us are trying to work in a way that doesn’t necessarily suit us. We all know whether we are a morning person, night owl or what days or time of the week are more suited to our own lives. This means considering family, sport, another business, health or hobbies. For this reason, Dale says the way we work simply has to change.
With online access, better than ever before and rising transport costs, working from home is increasingly do-able. Last year, Weirdly went remote themselves, and they know one of the coolest things about working remotely is setting up your workspace. For inspiration, check out some of their workspaces and read how they did it here.