Balancing work and family life is more important than ever – as many parents have realised over the past year after spending more time at home. Work-life integration, rather than work-life balance, is now the norm – as the lines have blurred between what’s the office or the kitchen – and has risen to the top of the priority list as organisations work towards improving employee wellbeing in a post-COVID-world.
As offices around the world are beginning to reopen in a few short weeks, we asked some of our RG Dads how they’re proactively balancing work and home life with the help of technology, prioritisation and communication. Here’s what they said:
Robert Hicks, Group HR Director
The either/or aspect of working remotely or the office is the biggest challenge – people don’t need to pick a side. We should work from where we feel most effective, to the tasks/objectives/outputs we have, at the time we have them.
I find the extra time I have working from home empowering, but I miss people and I enjoy my commute when it works or really when I socialise after.
There are upsides to when I do one and downsides, too. I will pick each week to do what is most effective for me as I need to.
Jonathan Burg, SVP of Marketing
Flexible working isn’t only about working the hours you 'want' to work. It’s about selflessly making decisions based on the demands of your job and your life, helping you to better achieve your goals.
For example, I take the time to figure out what my highest level goal, or mission is, and how the other goals in my life support it. That goal just happens to be, being the best father I can for my son. This makes decisions slightly easier to make and explain to all the people that I support.
And the same goes for helping your team. As a leader, you need to help them understand the demands their role at the company has, and then trust they will get their job done – which means on the schedule that makes sense for them and the people that rely on them.
James Edwards, Global Director – Implementation and Support
RG’s gender-neutral parental leave policy is one of the benefits for working parents at RG and is a small way we’re challenging gender stereotypes. It’s also helped us embrace flexible working, giving autonomy to our people to determine when and where they can do their best work.
This is helping parents like me create a healthier work-life balance, where dads can leave early to pick up their kids from school without any questions asked.
As a manager, the experience of having children has made me realise the importance of giving my team the flexibility to take leave when they need it. In order to build genuine inclusiveness, we need to be accommodating leaders and support our people through different stages of their lives and careers.
Brian D’Angelo, Growth Marketing Manager
Working remotely can be challenging even during the best of times. But adding children into the mix who need to be looked after or driven to activities is a whole new challenge.
One of my biggest tips is to let your kids burn off excess energy. After breakfast, before diving into your emails, get them outside for some running around. Take them on a walk, bike ride or to the park down the road on a sunny day.
This outdoor break will not only be good for your kids, but also for your own mental wellbeing before you tackle your day. It’s key to spend time in nature and break up your day.
Reece Jarvis, Enterprise Client Success Manager
I’m a dad of two children (5 and 1) and number three due this week! Work-life integration is crucial to my wellbeing and my relationships with my kids. I love that I can be actively involved with all aspects of my kids' lives, from daycare drop offs/pick ups, to gymnastics or tennis lessons but I can also have a productive work day.
I have full accountability and autonomy in my role as a Client Success Manager so I can prioritise and plan accordingly.
After daycare/kindergarten drops off, I prefer to exercise at 8am and do admin work at 8pm rather than the other way around. I prefer to start a morning with a walk along the beach with my son and discuss the smells and sounds of the ocean rather than reporting. I tried reporting first thing in the morning and I didn’t have a great day.
I put the time and effort into learning and growing as a parent with the organisations I support and follow to be a better version of myself for my kids. With number three on the way I’m a little nervous with the two kids under two but it’s a great start to have four weeks paternity leave to be there for my wife and spend the precious time with bubs.
There’s no doubt about it, the past year has been challenging for working parents. But with every challenge comes an opportunity. Hopefully these tips have given you ideas for how you can support your own employees’ wellbeing and promote work-life balance as the world reopens and more people are returning to the office.
What next step will you take towards improving employee engagement by embracing flexible working?