Any working parent knows just how hard it is to juggle the competing priorities of family and career – it can often feel like parents are at work 24/7, 365-days a year. Here are 5 valuable tips to help you keep cool under pressure and get the work-life balance right.
1. Ditch The Guilt
A feeling that’s both misplaced and destructive, parental guilt can distract from the real benefits – to the whole family – of building your career. One obvious example is the income that working parents bring to the household, but there’s also the fact that you’re demonstrating the importance of a good work ethic to the next generation.
See also: Letting go of mummy’s guilt
A study published last year by Harvard Business School found that, not only was there no detrimental effect on children whose mothers worked outside of the home, but that daughters of working mothers were eventually more likely to hold supervisory positions themselves, as working adults. Meanwhile, sons of working mothers were more likely to contribute to household chores and spend more time caring for their own families when they became fathers. Looks like it is time to value your own contribution and let go of the negative thoughts.
2. Quality Over Quantity
Published in April 2016, Morgan McKinley’s study of working parents in Hong Kong found that 73% of the survey’s respondents worked between 41 and 60 hours per week, across a range of industries including banking and finance, tech, FMCG and legal. These parents spent an average of 2 hours and 51 minutes per day with their children, but 63% felt that they should spend more time than they currently do.
Rather than focus on the time that you’re not at home, refocus on making the time that you are together quality time. Leave work at the door where it belongs, switch off your phone, and give your kids the focused attention that they deserve, if only for an hour at a time. Demonstrating to your children that they are a priority will make them feel secure, and better able to handle those occasions when work has to come first.
3. Jot It Down
Sick of forgetting important parental appointments? Scheduling your home life as you do your office day enables you to relax, safe in the knowledge that the school sports day or drama club already has its time slot allocated. You’ll be less stressed, more in control of your time and your kids’ confidence in you will be restored. Treat business meetings, family plans and even date nights with the importance that they deserve; after all, you do deserve a life too!
4. Be (A Little) Selfish
Keeping all the plates spinning at work, at home, with friends and in your relationship can leave you burnt out and exhausted; this in turn is no good for your career or your family. Working parents often tend to be great at prioritising everyone else before their own needs, which is unsustainable in the long run. Make space in your diary just for you – dinner with friends, a weekend away or even an occasional massage. Taking some time off will help you to remain motivated and engaged as a professional and as a parent.
5. Find Flexibility In Your Work
A 2008 study into flexible working conducted by Working Families in partnership with Cranfield University showed some very interesting results. In it, the performance of employees who worked flexibly was found to have either improved or remained the same when assessed by their managers. Meanwhile, a 2012 Stanford University study focusing on staff members at Chinese travel firm Ctrip.com showed an increased rise in productivity when staff worked off-site. There was also a 13% increase in performance for those working from home, and less time taken for breaks and sickness.
The rise of technology has also meant the rise of the sharing economy, which allows businesses to access an asset rather than owning them. Work and workplace have been redefined over time. For businesses, this is cost efficient and flexible to meet your business’ demands. Using a serviced office, you will be supported with a wide range of services; from having someone to answer your call to business formation, whilst you can focus on your core business and work life balance.
Contributed by Compass Offices