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June 12, 2018 Elise Le-Galloudec

By Lani Pauli, Deane & Co

Yep, you read that right! While it seems counterintuitive, working less and finding more balance in your life can actually have a positive impact on your business.

Thanks to social media and the fact that in this digital age you can work almost anywhere at any hour, there can be limitless opportunity to work and a never-ending supply of tasks to do. But that doesn’t mean you should just work-work-work!

Not least because an overstimulated, perpetually busy mind is not the place where the best ideas, clearest decisions, or brilliant strategy come from.

As part of our consulting work, we often talk with clients about how to get more balance in their lives, and how it’s not indulgent, but can really pay off for their business.

You only have to look at business power players Tim Ferriss, Ariana Huffington and Bill Gates – all advocates of scheduling dedicated time off – to see how working less can help you more.

If you are finding you are always ‘on’ and spending the bulk of your precious time working on business, take a moment to stop and recalibrate.

Here are 5 ways to consider bringing more balance to your life, calming your mind and running your business, so that it doesn’t run you.

#1 Take Holidays!

Having time off is one of the most sure-fire ways to be more productive. Breaks, down time, having fun and thinking about things outside work is one of the best investments you can make in yourself. Travel allows you to learn new things, get new perspectives, and come at problems in different ways. If you haven’t had a holiday in ages, it can be as easy as taking a long weekend away or getting to the beach for a couple of days.

#2 Clear Boundaries

Make clear boundaries and stick to them. Leave work on time, take a proper lunch break each day, don’t reply to emails or calls outside of hours.  Some of our clients at Deane & Co now put in strict boundaries and openly take one day off a week. On this day they don’t reply to emails (unless the situation is urgent) and their success continues. If anything, this client argues (and we’re inclined to agree) that it enhances their ability to be successful as they’re giving themselves adequate time to recharge and restore.

#3 Switch Off

The best way to be a winner in business and in life is to rejuvenate body and mind, which means a good nights’ sleep. And vital to good sleep if switch off technology, social media, the laptop and cleansing the bedroom of all electronic gear. Consider social media-free weekends: Tim Ferriss switches off his phone every Saturday unapologetically.

#4 Prioritise

Take a cold hard look at how you’re spending your precious time across the different categories that matter to you, whether that’s Family, Eating Well, Exercising, Down Time, or Being Social. If you’re finding that all your time is caught up in business and busyness consider where your main priorities truly lie. Upping your wellbeing only help performance, so spending time on them is an investment in business too.

#5 Delegate

To work less you need to do less, so think strategically about how you can get things off your plate. If your business is like your baby, at some stage you need to let it grow and develop. Trust and work with others. Invest time in good people and then delegate to free up your own time and do the things you truly love and are good at. If you suck at accounting or graphic design, it’s time to hand those things over to people who excel at them so you can have the bandwidth to do what you do best.



April 21, 2018 Elise Le-Galloudec

By Kathy Wilson

It wasn’t all that long ago that seeking part-time work was like hanging a sign across your LinkedIn profile saying “not that interested in my career.” Not only was there a salary penalty but promotions suddenly became “unavailable” and career-enhancing projects would disappear like a puff of smoke.

But in 2007, Tim Ferriss forced the world to take a look at the way we all work  with his international bestseller “The Four Hour Workweek.” No longer was there a direct link between hours worked and commitment and success.

The flow-on effect has been slow in coming but is now picking up steam. Finally, like a shy little sister at the dance, part-time work is stepping out of shadows and presenting herself as a powerful career tool.

All over the world, millions of dollars are flooding into part-time and flexible work in 2018 as both employers and employees catch on to its advantages.

But have the tables turned so much that part-time work now actually boost your career?

In many cases yes. And for women in digital, it’s a “hell yes!”

So let’s take a look at six specific ways you can use part-time work to skyrocket your career.

1. Use job-sharing to make you part of an unbeatable package.

By developing a strategic job-share partnership, you can take you from a “maybe” candidate for a stretch job to a “must have.”

By matching your skills with someone similar but complimentary, you can potentially double the expertise, experience and skill sets you bring to a role. It also means that when and if the need arises, there is the ability to scale up rapidly (e.g. for a launch/end of financial year/time-sensitive report).

Increasingly – job sharing is a thing. And for senior, well-paid and challenging roles.

Companies are becoming open to hiring senior people on a flexible basis, according to recruitment firm Timewise.

“The British company surveyed 200 local senior managers and found that two out of five would consider hiring candidates for a senior role as part of a job-share. It also estimated that 770,000 high-income earners in Britain now work part-time, an increase of 5.7% on the previous year.

There are no losers in this scenario and big wins for innovative employees.

2. Use the flexibility of part-time work allows to develop skills in new areas

Very often, even the best full-time jobs involve using the same skill set over and over. I kind of rinse and repeat. Sure, you may have mastered the skills required but once you have done that a plateau can set in.

That’s what happened to Tracey – a coder in Sydney.

“When I first started my job

Part-time work, by its very nature, frees you up for things other than your primary job.

Spend it to upskill in new areas that can take you in a whole different career direction.

3. Get your foot in the door at an up and coming company.

Once you have a few years experience, you expect a certain salary – and that’s a good thing.

But what about if your dream company is a bit speculative and can’t afford you at that rate?

Easy.

Negotiate a part-time contract to get your foot in the door.

4. Make more money

This may sound counter-intuitive, but sometimes, working part-time can mean you end up bringing in more money.

If, for example, you take on a 30 hour a week gig and a 15 hour a week gig, your total income might exceed a full-time salary.

5. Be available to last minute and short-term opportunities

By its nature, part-time jobs mean you are free to dabble in small, cool and/or one-off projects.

Who knows, maybe that small gig you pick up might lead to you being the next big thing in digital in a few years.

And finally…

6. Part-time work can make you happy – and that makes you a far better company asset.

According to an article in Fast Company,  https://www.fastcompany.com/3048751/happy-employees-are-12-more-productive-at-work ) happy workers are more productive workers.

Here’s what the article said: “A recent study by economists at the University of Warwick found that happiness led to a 12% spike in productivity, while unhappy workers proved 10% less productive. As the research team put it, “We find that human happiness has large and positive causal effects on productivity. Positive emotions appear to invigorate human beings.”

If you can find your work/life balance that works for you, you’ll be far better and your job – and a much more valued employee.

Shawn Anchor, the author of The Happiness Advantage, has found that the brain works much better when a person is feeling positive. At those times, individuals tend to be more creative and better at solving problems.

Kathy Wilson from Elite Reputations gets women great part-time jobs. She knows that starting a job search can push everyone single, insecure button you have and she has a plan for you to follow that is simple and easy and will get you a new job in 4 weeks or less. And she’s released a course called “The World’s Most Real Guide to getting a part-time job that isn’t crap and pays what you deserve“.



February 10, 2018 Elise Le-Galloudec

By Lani Pauli

PR seems to be the golden child of a new business marketing arsenal. Send product to waiting journalist, get published, and watch the sales roll in, right? Sure, if you have a sizeable advertising budget to pair with that press release, but public relations in real life is a much longer game, and something that requires consistency, relationships and a little creativity!

This article is specifically for new businesses starting out, but the ‘rules’ can be applied to any business that’s just starting out their relationship with the media.

Firstly, when it comes to working with PR, if you’re still at the minimum viable product (MVP) stage, a fully-fledged PR campaign is unlikely to be the best use of your limited funds, time and resources. Journalists are looking for wins, runs on the board, case studies – the fact that you’ve launched often isn’t enough of a hook to grab their attention. At Deane & Co we have a saying, “Invest in getting your house in order.” That is to say, if you are about to open a bricks and mortar store you don’t throw open the doors, invite people in to look and shop with empty shelves. In this crucial time when you’re still working to prove your concept, spend the time getting your house in order with these simple steps.

1. Know what the purpose of PR is for your business

Public relations, specifically media relations, isn’t necessarily the thing that will make your cash register ring. PR is often more about brand awareness, introducing new customers to what you do, building relationships with journalists, influencers, customers… Don’t go into a PR campaign necessarily expecting a huge increase in sales. It takes repeated mentions of your brand and product across a variety of channels to encourage customers to make the leap to purchase, and relying on PR alone for sales is going to leave you disappointed.

2. Put your best foot forward

Make sure all of your other marketing and promotional channels are on point. Get your website looking beautiful, have professional images of your product, or yourself if you’re selling a service, make sure your social media channels are being regularly updated, and that you can actually handle it if sales do pick up when a journalist presses publish.

3. Create a 1-page general media release or fact sheet

Should media come knocking, you’re going to want an easy to access one page media release at the ready. It shouldn’t be a novel, but it should give readers the who, what, when, where, why and how of your business. At the very least it is brilliant practice at being able to succinctly describe what you do. Add a few quotes from yourself or your co-founder, include examples of the problem you solve, who the journalist should contact if they want more information and a link to hi-res images they can use in a story. Which leads me to the next point…

4. Have a library of images

Headshots and general lifestyle images of your product and/or service will be invaluable should you embark on a PR campaign. Aim for images that are a minimum of 1MB in size and don’t rely on the standard “founder standing against a wall in branded t-shirt” pose. Think outside the box and perhaps get the photographer to photograph you at your favourite cafe. Get a variety of images in portrait and landscape. The same applies to product shots. Lots of publications, both print and digital will only want deep etched (white background) images so they can create larger composite images with other brands. They may also want campaign shots, but it pays to have both easily accessible.

5. Know 5 things you could confidently talk about that are happening in your industry

Sometimes PR is talking about the bigger picture things influencing your industry. Think about and write down five things you could talk about relevant to your industry but doesn’t put a megaphone up to your startup and says, “Me, me, me.” For example, are you able to talk about what it takes to source an overseas manufacturer, have you started a business in a traditionally male-dominated arena, or are you seeing travel trends influence how consumers book and spend their leisure time? All of these are ways you can promote your experience and as a by-product your startup.

6. PR isn’t just about media

Public Relations can also include events, activations, working with influencers, community building activities and more – media isn’t the be all and end all for promoting your brand, particularly as publishers are becoming more aspirational and less a catalogue of potential purchases.

7. Think outside the box

The traditional media release really isn’t the way to get attention any more. Journalists get so many across their desks, they often don’t have time to read or respond. Instead, try emailing a journo with a very brief intro email, detailing the 3-5 hooks or headlines they might be able to write out of your story. Alternatively, send them something tangible – a colourful jewellery brand might send a jar of bright lollies with a ring hidden inside!

When working with startups, we strongly advise our clients to consider where they will get the most value for their money. If you’re chasing sign ups to your new app or really need to speak directly to people within a niche industry, the financial investment of engaging a PR agency or contractor in your early days might be better invested in, for example, engaging a business development manager, a digital marketing strategy or similar. Food for thought!



January 19, 2018 Elise Le-Galloudec

By Jeannine Meyer

If you are currently active in the field of artificial intelligence (AI) or have a hankering to explore and understand the depths of machine learning, then you have most probably heard of recent PhD graduate and co-founder of Brisbane’s own AI meetup, Natalie Rens. What is even more intriguing is how this South African born ballet dancer turned neuroscience extraordinaire came to be one of Australia’s most up and coming AI experts.

Upon entering university life, Natalie first saw herself as an adventurer who would take a trip to the Amazon, discover unknown exotic plants and ultimately create brand new pharmaceuticals out of them. As fate would have it, her travel log and academic journey would deviate from where it originally began upon the completion of her undergraduate in biomedical science in England. Natalie continued her studies by undertaking a Masters in neuroscience in Portugal and France, which then led her over to Australia where she continued to pursue her interest in neuroscience and thus began her PhD at the University of Queensland in Brisbane.

So, how does one write and submit a thesis in which they combine the works of both neuroimaging with machine learning? Natalie explains that she was first introduced to machine learning through one of the new techniques that had come out in neuroscience called “multi-voxel pattern analysis” (a tool Natalie used throughout her own research) which is presented in the context of “brain reading” programs that showcase how certain mental states can be picked out and translated. Natalie’s first study was created within virtual environments that revealed where in our brain the information for upcoming complex decisions was actually stored – similar to how Alice in Wonderland is required to find the right lock that fits the tiny golden key! Her study (just published – https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fnhum.2017.00610/full) showed widespread brain activity when individuals prepared to make their own choices, the opposite to when being told to follow instructions – (Bear with me I was just as astounded!).

Throughout Natalie’s next studies, she states she went more philosophical, saying she looked at whether you could decode whether somebody had another option available to them or not – with the idea, that if we navigate flexibly in our environment then we would store all the options available to us. Natalie found that she could decode whether an individual making a decision had alternative options available, but also, somewhat controversially, that the strength of this decoding correlated to how free they said they felt when making their decision.

After gaining some insight into Natalie’s studies, I wanted to immerse myself completely into her story. I personally find AI to be quite a specific yet complex area, and so I was curious as to what led Natalie here. She claims that while you are in academia you are in a bubble of theoretical knowledge of science, however one day she heard that a cohort from San Diego were visiting UQ and were talking about the future of emerging technologies, including AI. It was then that Natalie discovered how significant the impact would be as she came across a powerful discussion amongst the panel surrounding AI and how important it was for companies and society alike to be aware of the engineering and increase in computers that attempt to appear more human and thus, replicate human intelligence. Her fascination led her to Silicon Valley in 2016 where she became passionate about the idea that people needed to have an understanding about AI in order to not fall behind but to also be able to utilise it. As Natalie says, “it allows you to do everything, better”.

I wondered what the defining characteristics of the Australian AI market are and are there any top courses that a novice, someone like myself, could go to learn more about AI? Sadly, Natalie tells me, that in terms of AI courses here in Brisbane, it does not look too promising at the moment and that it is actually quite a problem as there are currently no tertiary institutions in Queensland that promote specialised AI programs, however Natalie recently spoke to some of the universities here who are looking at introducing programs in the near future. With the help of the established AI community, Natalie says they recently finished running the first Brisbane AI deep learning project course. In addition to developing their own projects, participants followed an online course from Fast.AI, a research institute dedicated to making deep learning more accessible, which is run by its democratic AI founders Australian data scientist Jeremy Howard and American academic Rachel Thomas. The 8-week project course just concluded, however she intends on expanding this into a series of courses this year, encouraging people to come along and learn.

Natalie explains that Australia is slightly disadvantaged in the way that “we don’t have the numbers that other countries do”. She goes on to say that, we do not have federal policy yet on AI development and technology start-ups here also struggle to find investment, in comparison to bigger hubs such as Silicon Valley. However, she says, “We can actually grow a good independent scene without having to necessarily face all the competition that they do”. She believes we have an advantage, especially in Queensland, which is home to a strong health community that boasts some of the best health research such as biofabrication research, robotics for healthcare and bionics research companies. With a confident tone, Natalie says Australia has the opportunity to just grow and start a niche start-up AI scene here – and that is exactly what Natalie has done by successfully establishing the first-ever Brisbane AI meetup.

The Brisbane AI meetup was created post attending a conference in California two years ago where Natalie asked the question, “There is this concern about the fact that if only technology companies really know what is going on and they are the only ones utilising this technology, what are we going to do?” Upon her return, Natalie attended a Brisbane robotics meetup where she spoke to Juxi, who would become future co-founder, about the idea of having a place where people could come together to learn about AI. The idea grew rapidly – to the point where they had 150 people attend their first ever meetup. The representation of females, however, within the Brisbane AI community is small, reflecting global numbers that stand at 13% – a percentage that Natalie hopes will increase as word gets out, as there is a huge demand for women in this area.

Natalie expresses that she knows there are many women out there in this environment and should you want to be involved in the community then simply reach out to Natalie or to anyone else in this space! “We are all there to support one another”. Natalie says she hopes to host another “Woman’s cocktail hour” before the next Brisbane AI meetup so that she can get more women together and form a consistent, ever-growing group of female AI leaders!

You can visit/contact Natalie Rens at the Brisbane AI website or sign up and head along to the next meetup –

https://www.meetup.com/Brisbane-Artificial-Intelligence/

https://brisbane.ai



December 17, 2017 Elise Le-Galloudec

By Jeannine Meyer

As Holly Tattersall straps on her hiking boots ready to traverse the palm-fringed beaches of Mexico all the way down to the archaeological wonders of Peru, little does she know that this adventure will be the springboard into her entrepreneurial life.

Devoted to the industry, Holly is a renowned leader in the digital world. Founder and CEO of Women in Digital and Digital Talent Co, Holly defines herself as a zealous digital career advisor and diversity advocate. Holly’s great passion for organisational change, people and diving into the depths of psychology, discovering why people do the things they do, formed a vision for Holly that illustrated a career in human resources and recruitment. Toward the completion of a Bachelor’s degree in Business Management with majors in International Business and HR, Holly credits the reputation of the University of Queensland as being a platform that assisted her in obtaining an internship before she graduated and then a marketing graduate position at the Brisbane based award-winning agency, Reload Media. Once Holly had some industry experience under her belt, she broke out of the Brisbane bubble and headed for Central and South America with a group of friends. It was in Colombia where Holly would later fall in love and end up spending 2 years building and forming her first business in tourism which focused on organised tours.

Upon her return and living back in Australia, Holly found herself frustrated as she realised that the experience of owning a tour guide business was difficult to translate into a career path. Thus, she began to navigate her career in digital recruitment, however, like other women, was faced with a range of challenges. With obstacles that were linked to lack of confidence or from encountering people with ample force and conviction, Holly networked her way into finding a female mentor who happened to be an executive at Deloitte Digital. By having a mentor who took an interest in Holly’s career and who understood the importance of networking and building self-confidence, she quickly realised that this type of support and guidance could benefit other women – and that’s when 2014 welcomed the formation of Women in Digital. Looking back, Holly acknowledges it as being “a personal experience” that saw her “coming out of adversity and figuring out what I can do next”. The combination of owning and managing Women in Digital and Digital Talent Co, which was founded in 2016, fills Holly with purpose and appreciation as Digital Talent Co helps people successfully find themselves within their career, whereas Women in Digital brands Holly with the opportunity to promote diversity in the industry.

As a female myself, close to graduating university and about to enter the industry, I wondered: What could’ve been some of the challenges for Holly that were inextricably linked to her gender? Holly expresses that she hasn’t actually faced any challenges in that sense, and that most of her challenges have been self-limiting. She finds that most women in Australia are highly valued and that having a female executive or CEO is considered a trophy. She was, of course, confronted once by a male CTO who said to her “I don’t understand this drive for women in technology. At the end of the day, if you have a female and a male programmer who start together on day 1, by day 100 the man is going to be better because his brain is more hardwired. It’s more rational.” So, obviously there are some outmoded opinions, but for the most part people have modernised and recognise the importance of value and diversity.

As the large workforce revolution approaches, Holly advises that women equip themselves with as much digital education as possible. Education, solid networking skills and a flexible personality are the three tickets that’ll launch any woman’s career and ensure that they have as much of an opportunity at being considered for board positions later down the track. Holly shares that she has been asked whether she has always been out-going and self-assured, but claims she has had to teach herself to be confident and extroverted. A recent conversation with a female sales leader backed her up by saying “In order to get where you want to go, you need to go against your natural grain if you’re someone who’s naturally introverted”.

Now, what’s been her biggest adventure? Holly describes building a business and taking the leap of faith to start Women in Digital and Digital Talent Co has taught her life’s invaluable journey of self-discovery that encompassed learning about her potential, skills, weaknesses, who she is as a leader and how she can grow as a person. Holly encourages all women to start and create their own career paths and to defy the fear that sometimes arises when you decide to own your own business.



October 2, 2017 Elise Le-Galloudec

Anita Siek is an admitted Lawyer turned Founder and Director of Wordfetti, a virtual copywriting agency where they do not believe in traditional copywriting, but disruptive, internet breaking, and thought-provoking copywriting.

In today’s ever changing economy, one thing remains constant: competition. So how does one curate copy and words that can help stand out from the rest?

We chat to Anita to find out.

So, how do you curate copy that “stands out”?

There are three ingredients we need before we at Wordfetti pull together a strategy to then cook up a storm with writing copy!

1. A business’s passion for what they do;

2. An understanding of what the business or organisation wants to “solve”; and

3. An articulate understanding of their target market/audience.

With the latter, we’re not just talking about “women”, “men”, or “the public” – it needs to be narrowed down to the very specifics like – their demographic, their everyday habits, where they read their news, what makes them “tick”. This is important because when we curate thought-provoking copy, we work backwards from the mind of the reader.

We don’t just want sentences to just sound good, we want the copy to resonate with them, to “wow”, stick with the audience, so that they remember the business, after all the research they have done.  And in order to do this, you need to know how they think, what they like and dislike, so that we can help them realise how your product or service will be the one to solve their pain points.

Businesses and organisations all have a reason to exist, doing what they do. But unfortunately, some fall through the cracks because they’re not able to communicate their value and purpose clearly and concisely. That’s when us as consumers, will go – NEXT.

How did Wordfetti begin?

As a hobby late in 2016 when I was working full time. I have always always always been fascinated by the English language and the ability of how certain words (despite their similar meanings) can trigger different emotions in the reader.

For example:

“I’d like to get your thoughts” vs “I’d love to get your thoughts” – somewhat similar meanings, but one definitely sounds more sincere than the other doesn’t it!?

What was the one thing you learnt from starting your own business?

That if you want to deliver a service, or sell a product – don’t do it simply because you think it’s going to be the next big thing. Do it because you 150% believe in it, because you wouldn’t mind working on the business even if you were on holidays, because you are passionate about it, and because you’d do it, even if you had to do it for free.

Why!? Because when things get tough (and it will), it will be the one thing that will drive you to keep going.

Did you always know you were going to be a Copywriter?

Nope! I studied Law and Psychology at University and was SO sure I was going to be either a Psychologist or a Lawyer.

I guess I kind of ended on a path of being in the middle. Being in Law School definitely helped me be a better writer, and studying Psychology opened my eyes to the importance of understanding personalities in conversation and in writing.

Any final tips for women entrepreneurs/young entrepreneurs who are looking to take the next step towards launching their own business?

Surround yourself with friends and people who are positive, fuel your passion, and those who continue to inspire you. That energy is CONTAGIOUS! Be a continuous learner and absorb knowledge wherever you can. No one can ever take that from you! And lastly, don’t become an “entrepreneur” or start a business simply for the money. That always comes after. Do it because you love it, because you 150% believe in it, and because you wouldn’t mind breathing it 24/7!

Wordfetti is based in sunny Queensland, Brisbane, however their location poses no boundaries for they currently service Clients across the nation in Australia as well as across borders in Paris, United States, Korea, Asia and Canada. They specialise in copywriting and write a myriad of copy including but not limited to websites, marketing collateral, print/advertising materials, social media and corporate communications. Owing to the Founder’s background, they also draft legal copy, such as your Terms and Conditions and Service Agreements.



September 27, 2017 Elise Le-Galloudec

It’s not all about the benjamins. Today’s workers increasingly value the ability to work where and when they want, with many saying it’s even more important than pay.

As a long-time remote worker — I currently write remotely for Biteable’s blog — I can personally vouch for the benefits of flexible work.

At Biteable, our marketing team is spread over San Francisco, Melbourne, London, Hobart and Seoul. We stay in touch using tools like Slack, and have weekly meetings on Google Hangouts. Most people don’t work 5 days a week, and can work whenever they like. It’s an arrangement that offers some major benefits, both for our team members, and for the company.

Here are five ways employees and employers around the world benefit from flexible work policies.

Closing the gender gap

“The main reason for the gender gaps at work — why women are paid less, why they’re less likely to reach the top levels of companies, and why they’re more likely to stop working after having children — is employers’ expectation that people spend long hours at their desks, research has shown.” – The New York TImes

More flexibility when it comes to work can drastically improve the gap, by attracting and keeping more women in the workforce. But women aren’t the only ones who value flexible work nearly half of dads also say they want a flexible workplace culture. When dads can more easily juggle work and home responsibilities, moms (and kids) benefit too.

When employees can schedule work around their lives, instead of the other way around, they  can pursue passions like travel, education, hobbies, or volunteer work. But employees aren’t the only ones to benefit from flexible work.

For employers, flexible work options can attract skilled employees who bring their own unique perspectives to the table. Many of these candidates might not have even applied otherwise.

A wider talent pool

Flexible work means more options, both for employees and employers. When employers don’t insist on employees being physically in the office from 8-5, Monday through Friday, they’re able to cast a wider net when hiring.

This can open up new opportunities to qualified candidates who might have otherwise faced schedule conflicts due to kids, medical appointments, or long commutes.

Stay-at-home or single parents, military spouses, or professionals with medical needs or disabilities all benefit from these work arrangements.

Allowing remote work broadens the talent pool further, by not limiting potential employees to those in the immediate area, and saving employers from paying relocation costs.

Whether an employee wants to travel abroad while keeping their job, or wants to live in a smaller town or a rural area with few local opportunities, remote work makes it possible.

Increased productivity

While employers might fear that remote workers are spending more time on Netflix than Excel, research shows that’s not the case. One study found that employees were more productive at home than in the office. These workers made on average 13.5% more calls per week than workers in the office, translating to roughly one extra work day every week. They also reported a higher rate of job satisfaction.

Moreover, in today’s global, hyper-connected world, business doesn’t happen on a 9-5 schedule. Having employees working from anywhere, at any time, can mean quicker response times and improved customer service.

Fewer distractions, more efficient, engaged workers, decreased stress, and improved retention all translate to more productive employees.

Happier employees

Now, more than ever, work-life balance is a top priority for employees, especially for millennials and parents. The ability to adjust one’s working hours play a major role in achieving it.

Many employees today opt for part-time or flexible work in order to pursue passions or education, or care for children or aging relatives. Working remotely, or working in the evenings or on weekends makes this possible, while helping employees to maintain balance, and avoid stress.

When employees are stressed and overworked, productivity suffers. Happier, more empowered employees means improved performance, decreased turnover, and fewer absences and sick days.

Cost savings

For employers, the cost savings of a remote workplace can be tremendous. The cost of office space, especially in major urban hubs like San Francisco, Melbourne, and London has skyrocketed. Not to mention utilities, cleaning and maintenance, furniture, office supplies, and all the other smaller expenses that come with a physical space. Even shutting down the office for one day a week could make a difference for the bottom line, especially when combined with the other benefits of remote work.

Employees benefit from remote work too, saving money on commuting costs like gas, parking, and public transit. The ability to live in an area with a lower cost of living, or save on childcare costs can likewise make a huge difference in an employee’s budget.

Final thoughts

Flexibility isn’t just a buzzword — it’s the future of work. As worker priorities shift and technology makes flexible hours and remote work more feasible, it’s likely we’ll continue to see more employees choosing when and where they work.

With this shift, companies and employees stand to benefit from financial savings, increased productivity, higher worker satisfaction, a wider job/talent pool, and a move towards more equality in the workplace.



September 10, 2017 Elise Le-Galloudec

It’s hard to know how much you should ask for before taking a job if you don’t know how much you’re worth to a company. You could sell yourself short if you walk into a salary negotiation unprepared and accept an offer for less than what someone with your experience is earning at other companies. Many women are still getting paid less than their male counterparts across all professions. According to the National Women’s Law Center, women would lose $418,800 over the course of a 40-year career based on today’s wage gap. But it’s not a hopeless situation. One way you can help close that gap is by negotiating for what you are worth, rather than just accepting an offer right off the bat.

Redfin chief economist Nela Richardson didn’t think she would ever be in that situation while working as a government economist, so she was caught by surprise when she learned a male coworker in the same position was getting paid over $60,000 more than she was!

That was a light-bulb moment for Nela and it changed the course of her career. So, what did she do? She made a plan and left her underpaid job to find one that paid her the amount she was worth. You have the most leverage when a company wants you, so always negotiate before you take a job.

Here are some tips from Nela for women about to head to the negotiation table:

Network

Knowledge is power. You should network to make connections with people in your field to get more information about the positions you are applying for. Go to events. Ask what companies are paying for certain positions. Networking with people in your industry will help you understand what a competitive wage is for someone in your position. You need to know what your market worth is in order to have the greatest negotiating power

Research It

In addition to  going to networking events, take your time to research different companies and the salaries they are offering. Use sites like Glassdoor and PayScale to find out what positions are worth in your area. You can use this information as leverage when heading into a salary negotiation meeting.

Be Realistic (But Don’t Sell Yourself Short)

You don’t want to ask for double what a company is offering, but you also shouldn’t settle for the bare minimum. There is always wiggle room. Ask for five to 10 percent more than the industry standard, but be prepared to explain WHY you are worth that much more. Maybe you have additional experience that would benefit the company, or you have a connection that makes you a more appealing candidate. Your company could regret hiring you if you ask for a lot more money, but can’t deliver on your promises. At the same time, a good company will value an employee who knows what they are worth, especially if they can deliver on the promises made during salary negotiations.

If the Employer Can’t Give You What You Want…

You have the MOST leverage in negotiations. There is a chance a company won’t be able to give you any more than what they are offering, but they might be able to give you a few extra vacation days or let you work from home once a week..There are things that can be important to you as a prospective employee other than money, but just make sure you get those other agreed-upon benefits in writing.

If the hiring manager says they can’t pay you what you’re asking, ask what you would need to do in the role to reach your desired salary. You could also request a guaranteed raise percentage annually or within a certain amount of time. Good employers will respect your drive.

Talk Career Ladder

A good company will value an employee’s vision for her personal career goals. Be sure to ask about the upward mobility in a company so you can envision what your future would look like if you decide to work for that company. You might not want to take the position if there isn’t much room to grow. An employer will appreciate a driven candidate who wants to turn their position into a career.
Let us know if these tips work for you!

Written by 

Article contributed by Redfin.

If you found this article interesting, head over to another interesting read by Redfin here.



September 7, 2017 Elise Le-Galloudec

I’m going to admit it upfront. I’ve made some investment blunders over the years.

Before we get into the details, please allow me to quickly introduce myself. I’m Kent Kwan, one of the co-founders of AtlasTrend and I have over 15 years of professional experience in the global investment markets. As an occupation, I’ve invested over a billion dollars in several hundred listed companies from your run of the mill banks & miners (yes, a bit boring) through to fast growth tech companies and even handbag makers (it was Mulberry, they make great handbags).

Through this time, the funds I’ve managed have delivered strong multi-year performance but of course I’ve also made some and seen others make silly investment errors along the way. The mistakes I’ve learnt the most from have nothing to do with making a calculation error or selecting the wrong company to invest in.

They were all about the wrong investing mindset which I quickly learnt to change. Can you relate to any of the following?

1. Don’t get too emotional about losses

I’ve always been a bit risk adverse. To this day, I’ve never sat at a gaming table at the casino and made a bet. It’s just not me because I know the pain of losing money would outweigh the joy from making money.

What might be a good mindset at the casino (not gambling) is unfortunately a very poor mindset for investing. In my younger days, I’d have nearly all my investments in cash deposits. Little risk of loss (though there is still risk) but of course with little return.

This was not a good investment approach because over any meaningful stretch of time all other major investment classes (e.g. shares, property, bonds) have delivered much better investment returns than cash in the bank. The ASX produced a report on this in 2016 which you can access here.

Of course, this doesn’t mean you should put all your spare cash in the highest risk investment. However, you shouldn’t let fear of potential investment losses stop you from properly embracing investing in a well-diversified way.

Mindset Tip #1: Don’t let the potential emotional pain of investment losses cost you the opportunity for good long term returns.

2. Don’t invest for the short term.

Warren Buffett (the world’s second wealthiest person) is recognised as one of the world’s most successful if not the most successful investor in the past 50 years. Here is what happened to the share price of Berkshire Hathaway (the investment company he runs) in the year 2008 and afterwards.

2008 was an extraordinarily bad year for many investors with the global financial system near collapse. Even Warren Buffett couldn’t prevent Berkshire Hathaway shareholders from losing 32% of the value of their shares. It would have been tempting for those shareholders to throw in the towel, sell everything and swear they would never invest in the share market again.

Unfortunately, any Berkshire Hathaway shareholder who sold their shares at the end of 2008 and put their money in cash instead would have missed out on the subsequent +171% returns.

Mindset Tip #2: Never invest with a short term (less than 3 years) mindset. No one (not even Warren Buffett) can guarantee an investment gain every day, month or even year but investing with a multi-year approach means you’ll be more likely to reap the rewards of positive investment returns.

3. Don’t try to “overtime” the markets

Have you ever tried to pick the bottom or top of the share market when investing? For example, in a strong market there is always the temptation to completely hold back from investing (or even sell all your investments) until you feel like the markets are “cheap” again. However, unless you can time this with near perfection, chances are you’ll end up in a worse off position.

Financial giant JPMorgan did a study a few years ago. It showed that an investor who stayed fully invested in the US share market from 1995 to 2014 would have made a 9.8% annualised return. An investor who tried to time their investment in the market but inadvertently missed out on being invested during the 10 best days between 1995 to 2014 would have seen their returns drop to 6.1% annualised return.

Mindset Tip #3: Invest regularly (e.g. once a month or quarter) and you’ll be sure to avoid the temptation of trying to time the markets to your potential detriment.

4. Don’t make investing a chore

We all lead busy lives. Investing is one of those things that might fall to the bottom of the to do list even though it is one of the most important decisions we make.

I’ve found the best way to get engaged in investing is to make it interesting and part of your everyday life. Are there any products and services you love using in everyday life or can’t live without? Are there any new exciting things you’ve seen on your travels that you think will grow quickly?

Find out the companies that make those products and understand how they operate. Not all of them will turn out to be potential investments but you might be surprised to learn many of them are listed companies you should consider investing in. Yes, Facebook is one of them for all you social media fans.

Mindset Tip #4: Investing is not a chore, it’s a lifelong exciting journey learning what makes the world go round.

This article was submitted by AtlasTrend.

AtlasTrend is a global equities fund manager that makes it easy for anyone to invest in the world’s most thriving trends. The team brings a wealth of investment insights and access to smart and hassle-free global investing through an engaging and fully transparent online investment platform. To gain more actionable investment insights from the AtlasTrend team on profitable world trends (such as the growth of online shopping or rise of big data) and the listed international companies benefitting from these trends, register today for a free trial here.


September 3, 2017 Elise Le-Galloudec

We already know that companies with more women executives are more profitable. But these companies are also paying their female employees more fairly, according to a new analysis by Redfin and PayScaleThe gender pay gap is half the size at tech companies with more women executives.

For this study, Redfin examined the gender makeup of executive teams at 31 of the largest U.S. tech companies. Companies where women made up more than 25 percent of the executive team were considered to have a high rate of female executives, while companies with fewer than 20 percent were considered to have a low rate. Companies where women made up 21 to 24 percent of the executive team were not included. PayScale then analyzed 6,562 salary profiles of people who reported working for these companies between June 2015 and 2017.

We looked at the gender pay gap in two ways. First, we compared salaries between men and women at similar levels and with similar years of experience. Then, we looked at the median salary for men and women regardless of job level or experience.

PayscaleReportCharts-GenderPayGap (3)

At companies with more women executives, women earned 98 cents for every dollar that men in similar roles earned. The two-cent pay gap might not sound like much, but for a man earning a $100,000 salary, a woman would earn $96,000 at a company with fewer women executives, compared to $98,000 at a company with more women at the top. This disparity adds up to tens of thousands of dollars over a woman’s career.

And the pay gap difference is a whopping 14 cents when you look at all men and women without controlling for whether they are in similar roles and levels. This suggests that companies with a high percentage of women execs also have more women in other highly-paid roles. This is what PayScale refers to as the “opportunity gap.”

Employee Satisfaction is Higher for Men and Women, Too

It may not be surprising that companies with more female executives have a narrower pay gap. But our study also showed that both men and women report a higher level of job satisfaction at companies with more female leaders, and fewer of them say they are considering leaving in the next six months.

PayscaleReportCharts-EmployeeSatisfaction (1)

 

PayscaleReportCharts-EmployeeTurnover (1)

Measuring our Pay Gap at Redfin

When I first became CTO in 2015, we hadn’t yet measured our gender pay gap, in part because we weren’t sure whether we had enough engineers to get a meaningful result. But our Women in Tech group suggested we do an analysis for any role where we had at least two men and two women at the same level. The numbers might be small, but it would give us a way to manually inspect any pay gap differences that the algorithm flagged.

In the end, we didn’t see any statistically significant difference in how men and women are paid. But we now look at our gender pay gap when we do compensation adjustments to ensure that no issues creep in as we grow. We also decided to publish our pay gap and other diversity statistics publicly, as a way to both hold ourselves accountable and to encourage other companies to join us in publishing their data.

Increased transparency is one way we can work together to close the pay gap in our industry. But our analysis shows that getting more women into executive positions could help, too.

Methodology

PayScale analyzed 6,562 salary profiles of employees surveyed between June 2015 and June 2017 who listed their employer as being one of the 31 predetermined major tech companies chosen by Redfin. High female leadership refers to major tech companies whose leadership teams are at least 25% female, and low female leadership refers to major tech companies whose leadership teams are less than 20% female. The controlled gender pay gap controls for variables such as years of experience, whereas the uncontrolled gender pay gap is measured by looking only at median pay.

Written by: Bridget Frey, CTO of Redfin

View the original report from Redfin.