Yahoo and Best Buy both recently ended their telecommuting programs: their employees will now be required to work in the office and not remotely. As a female entrepreneur who, prior to starting my own business, worked for years in a corporate environment, I am reminded of the many talented women who start businesses because they are dissatisfied with their jobs, identify a problem that is personal to them, and take a risk to provide the solution. In doing, so they are often able to have more flexible schedules while doing work that they find exciting and meaningful. As Meghan Casserly of Forbes wrote in a January 2012 blog post on millennial women, “If necessity is the mother of invention, career dissatisfaction just might be the necessary driver of the next economic boom.”
I left an intense corporate job to start Kidz Central Station, a web portal that helps busy parents research, find, compare and enroll in classes and activities for their children, and share the details with friends. I knew the marketplace for children’s activities was large and growing, but found the process of learning about available classes and signing up for them to be very time-consuming, antiquated and frustrating. I was amazed to find that I could make a reservation for a meal of almost any type of food in 10 minutes or less on Open Table and schedule a doctor’s appointment in less than 10 minutes on ZocDoc, but finding a children’s cooking or ballet class in my neighborhood took much more time and involved much more paperwork. A few months later, Kidz Central Station was born.
As the word about the site spread, my co-founder and I were approached by tons of women who loved the concept and wanted to get involved in building the business. We kept hearing over and over again from different women that they wanted to create something that they believe in – and to have some control over their schedules. We now have a growing team of former professional women working with us. Like many other start-ups, we telecommute, work traditional and non-traditional hours, and hope we are creating businesses where talented people can flourish. As corporate policies are perceived as becoming less friendly to employees, we should expect to see more talented people entering the start-up space.