For many women moving from their city base to the country, often due to marrying a farmer, the transition is not always easy. This is especially so if she has had an active professional career where she is a member of a team and essential to the enterprises existence.
Many young women trained in nursing, teaching and administration have no trouble finding employment in their local and surrounding towns however, for those with different career paths and professions, employment in their locale is much more problematic.
Enter Go Remote, an on-line platform where employers can ‘meet’ the most suitable candidates. “Think of it as a Tinder match-making solution”, Ms Palmer explains, “and through our selection processes, we can match needs and wants almost immediately.”
In 2016, the Regional Australia Institute (RAI) held its Lightbulb Moments competition in conjunction with the Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal attracting more than 150 entries from across Australia. Go Remote is one of the ten finalists.
Co-ordinator for the competition, David Spears from RAI brought together partners Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal, and Prime7 TV, with the finalists receiving a suite of professional support as they further develop their enterprises to become business-ready.
“Interestingly, there are more women finalists and this is typical of what is happening across Australia as they see and operate in their worlds differently than conventional businesses. Women are the ultimate jugglers as they simultaneously handle internal (domestic and family) affairs with demands from their external environments and, as necessity is the key to invention, they are using technology in ways which hadn’t been thought of before,” Mr Spears explained.
‘Solutions to existing problems are being created where they are, and not relying on the old method of top-down, one-size-fits-all concepts which rarely worked.”
Barely had Jo Palmer registered the name Go Remote and she had clients wishing to use the service. “In the first two days I had a large regional based accounting firm seeking four highly qualified employees for internal work. They are offering six-figure salaries and do not care where the people are located – they know that with communication capabilities these days, location is irrelevant.”
“For some business owners, the concept of having employees outside the ‘office’ is a little strange but, when asked if they have their solicitor, tax agent and accountant there, which most don’t, they understand it is possible to have staff located remotely.”
“At the end of the day, it is the quality of work and timeliness of delivery which is most important,” Ms Palmer said.
Jess Schiller (Glynn) completed a double degree in communications and was a TV and print journalist prior to taking on a media advisor role for a federal minister. Living in rural NSW was not on her agenda until she met her future husband and life changed.
“We live near Hay and I am now the mother of two small children and a farmer’s wife. I love working yet, in Hay, there is nothing available for my skill set. I’ve written a few stories for The Riverine Grazier but that is adhoc and it isn’t utilising all my skills.”
“I realise there are some city girls who thrive in their new farm existence but I am not one.” Mrs Schiller explained, “and this can be difficult for the dynamics in a farming family.”
My professional identity is maintained even though I am known as Nina and George's mum by most people in town.
“When I heard about Go Remote I registered immediately and now have one day a week work which a perfect transition into being a professional again. I get to talk to adults from everywhere instead of only children asking for sultanas,” she said.
Ms Palmer described how Go Remote was already linking rural women with opportunities hundreds of kilometres from home. “For some positions, women are preferred as they are meticulous and, as the result of being a mother, well organised and these skills add to their professional suite as an employee of choice.”
“The reality of having an off-farm income without having to leave the farm is perfect and new salaries into smaller economies provide an injection into local businesses so it’s a win-win all ‘round.”
Candidates and employers can register for a modest ‘introductory’ fee and, once the applications are received, the match-making commences. Every applicant is personally interviewed, their references checked and aspirations sought.
“Through Go Remote, employers have a huge pool of talent to draw upon as they are not limited by proximity. How much easier is it to walk to the office, fire up the wifi, turn on the computer and commence the day’s tasks,” Ms Palmer said.
“That sure beats sitting in a car for hours every day, in grid-locked city traffic wishing you were somewhere else. Everyone can now have the best of all worlds and be far more productive and happy,” she concluded.