Online businesses can learn from Woman’s Weekly

Woman's Weekly provides lessons for online businessThis week, Woman’s Weekly magazine is 100 years old. Happy Birthday, old gal. And in spite of the magazine market exploding since the introduction of the 1d (one old penny) magazine, it remains the best performing magazine in the sector, with sales slightly up in a market that has seen an 8% drop. Even at 100, they’ve still “got it” at Woman’s Weekly it seems.

And when you peek inside that first edition – reprinted in its entirety this week – you’ll discover that not a lot has changed in the past century. One woman was so incensed that her husband dared to complain about her handling of the household finances, she told him to get on with it himself. Needless to say, he made  hash of it. Another contributor made the point that the real reward from her nursing career was seeing people get better.

Both of these women are essentially pointing out that there is more to life than money – the other rewards and the way they were treated were also significant factors in how they felt. And that’s exactly the kind of conclusion you can draw from today’s younger generation, according to a study by Cisco. This found that today’s young job-seekers consider the Internet to be fundamental in any work they do. Indeed, one in three of the participants in the survey say Internet access is the same kind of requirement as having water or electricity.

The study also showed that many youngsters want unrestricted access to social networking as part of their job. The use of Facebook and the like has become so much part of their way of life, a company that does not allow access is unappealing in terms of career suitability. Indeed, the young people in the Cisco research said the presence or lack of free Internet use in the workplace is a game-changer. In other words, businesses that block web sites or restrict access are reducing their appeal to their future workforce significantly.

What this Cisco study shows – rather like the articles in this week’s Woman’s Weekly – is that people are more interested in other aspects of their working life than they are in the money. It was this way 100 years ago it seems – today the “other aspects” just happen to be Internet-related.

Studies have already shown that businesses which restrict Internet access have lower productivity levels compared with the time when their offices had free web access. Now, it seems, such firms won’t even be able to attract people to work for them any more.

The Cisco study is a reminder of what those women said 100 years ago – money isn’t everything. And if your business thinks you can attract the right staff and support simply by paying more, think again; it is not the salary that matters, but the other things which go with the jobs you offer, such as enjoyment, challenge, stimulation and – nowadays – the unrestricted use of the Internet.

Online businesses can learn from Woman's Weekly 1

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