Gender diversity in the workplace is an important issue, as women have to be represented at every level of an organisation.
The days of the glass ceiling should be over with merit-based hiring essential to a successful long-term strategy.
A study by the American Accounting Association has found there are numerous business benefits to gender diversity, as boards made up of both men and women are more likely to deliver greater dividends for shareholders and avoid risky projects.
Indeed, UK senior partner Ian Powell recognises the need for gender diversity, labelling the practice as a "commercial imperative" in the 21st century. The message is clear, diverse and inclusive organisations not only present a positive image, but also fare much better than their male-dominated counterparts.
One of the main issues still facing women is perceptions around children and childbirth. Senior managers fear the disruption that will be caused if a number of staff members go off on maternity leave or request a change in terms to suit their childcare needs.
A new study by law firm Slater & Gordon proves this attitude is still prevalent in British businesses, as nearly a third of bosses admitted they would prefer to hire a man in his 20s or 30s instead of a woman of the same age because of concerns over maternity leave.
More than 40 per cent are wary of taking on women of childbearing age, while one in seven said they no longer felt women employees were team players after returning from time off to have a child.
The findings have also been backed up by the experiences of women, as only 40 per cent reported that their boss was completely supportive during their pregnancy and maternity leave.
How can conference calling help?
It's clear some companies are struggling to deliver the right work-life balance for their women employees and so they should consider the merits of flexible working solutions. 'But what about keeping in touch?', I hear you say.
With free conferencing calling, you no longer have to worry about home-based workers feeling alienated or out of touch with the company. Be it a core training session, important company meeting or simply a catch-up, the technology delivers real value for anyone who is at home for the day.
Moreover, because there is no travel downtime in between meetings, working mothers can organise their days in a way that suits them, but also does not jeopardise business productivity in the long term.
When you consider that making one less commute a week can save roughly £10,000 over the course of a career, there are clear financial benefits to carrying out your duties from home now and again, especially if it suits childcare arrangements.
Flexible working solutions are linked to higher levels of job satisfaction, as staff feel they are able to achieve a better work-life balance. Figures from the IBM Smarter Workforce Institute show that of those who have access to a home working solution for at least part of the week, almost two-thirds of men and women take advantage of the benefit.
With this only set to get more popular, now is the time to discover conference calling technology and make sure you can offer a complete home working solution for your staff.