Work, Life: A Balancing Act

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Last’s month’s blog topic examined the future of remote working, including a discussion on the pros and cons and suggestions for how to establish sound flexible work policies and procedures for your organization.

Two of the major reasons workers cite for wanting to work remotely are better work/life balance and flexibility – two concepts that really hit home with me recently. I have always counted myself lucky to be able to pursue my career from the comfort of my home. A few weeks ago, however, I was even more struck by the good fortune that allows me to enjoy the flexibility and work/life balance so coveted by working mothers, fathers and guardians everywhere.

Here’s why: My four-year-old great niece, Marki, typically spends one night a week with me. It’s a great arrangement that gives her working parents a bit of a break and treats me to quality, one-on-one time with one of my favorite people. I am almost always able to let Marki sleep in a little while I begin my workday at home. An early morning break finds me making her breakfast, getting her dressed, brushing her teeth and driving her to the babysitter before turning my attention back to my job.

On one particular morning, however, I was meeting with a client in person at 8 a.m., a routine start time for many working individuals. This required me to rouse a grumbling Marki, plead with her to get her clothes on, rush her to eat her breakfast and bribe her with a treat to get in the car, all while getting myself ready for my workday and choking down a few swallows of much-needed caffeine.

Once I had dropped Marki off and met with my client, I was enjoying a quiet drive back home when it struck me that millions of people adhere to this stringent routine multiple days a week – a humbling and sobering thought for me as a single person! The morning’s madness made me realize how important it is for employers to provide working parents, guardians and caretakers with support and understanding for the busy lives they lead, the multiple hats they wear and the many responsibilities they juggle.

According to Flexjobs, an online job site that helps people find work that fits their lifestyle, 75% of workers want flexible work to help improve their work-life balance and 94% feel that workplace flexibility can help them be better parents. So, what can employers do to provide flexibility and work/life balance for employees? Here are some options:

  • Establish a supportive environment and culture for caregivers.
  • Consider caregiving responsibilities when determining job specifications and roles.
  • Provide paid leave and encourage employees to use it.
  • Allow workers to make up time away from work.
  • When possible, accommodate remote and hybrid work arrangements.
  • Offer on-site childcare or daycare subsidies, if possible, or provide references for reliable child and elder care.
  • Ensure employees have affordable access to resources that boost moral, physical wellbeing and good mental health.

While we do have to set boundaries and parameters to ensure organizational success and client satisfaction, we can still help staff members achieve a good balance between their work and personal lives. It’s hard to do it all, so let’s try to put ourselves in others’ shoes and provide the support and understanding needed to achieve a good and healthy balance between work and life.

Want to hear more about my debacle-ish morning with Marki and future plans to avoid the same scenario? Let’s talk.

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