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Start-up for flexibility

21/04/2017
It is always useful to remind myself that Women on Boards was once a start-up. An idea that had its genesis back in 2001, tested the market until 2005 and formed in 2006. At the time Ruth and I founded WOB, I had an eight month old daugther, was working from our first (tiny) home on the Central Coast of NSW and thinking how, at 35 years of age, I might seek to make a difference for women.
 
I am reminded of all this when browsing the website www.mwah.live. Not the phoentic version of a kiss, mwah.live is the brainchild of self-styled HR aficionado, Rhonda Brighton-Hall. A former people leader (EGM of Organisation Development) at Commonwealth Bank, Rhonda is one of the great thinkers and optimists around the future of work.

The website states: "We start with this philosophy … Work is a fundamental human right. And then we built a business aimed solely at supporting that philosophy and the idea that work should always be absolutely human."

Back in 2014 Rhonda was key to CBA taking up an opporunity to sponsor the Women on Boards Agile Future series, which explored the future of work. Alison Maitland, UK based author of the book, Future Work, was the keynote speaker, supported by business leaders from here and overseas. 

It was a thoughtful and insightful event that interestingly did not get the traction we expected. We had scores in each city, not the 100s you might have expected. Perhaps the concepts were too far fetched. Perhaps it was all too hard? We didn't think so at the time, nor do we now. 

More than ever there is a need for workplaces to understand that work is not a choice, but a right. We all have to work and in a sense our work is never done. However we need to rethink what we really mean by the term work, which is currently fairly narrowly defined as paid employment of some sort.
  • What makes our work meaningful?
  • How do we value our work and that of others?
  • When, if ever, do we stop working?
These are big questions that need long and difficult discussions at all levels, between colleagues, within formal workplace structures and at a policy level. There is evidence they are starting to happen and it is encouraging to see great new start-ups, such mwah.live, flexpertcareers (which Rhonda Chairs) and Expert 360, for which Bridget Loudon has just been recognised. 

Those of you in our network interested in innovative new approaches in our workplaces might want to put Monday 5th June in your diaries from 3:30pm until 8:00pm when Rhonda will be one of the keynote speakers at our WOB Innovates event at AON in Sydney.

You might also like to watch a short summary video of the Agile Future Series at https://youtu.be/FwvTqFIrRvk
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