Work - Family Balance: The struggle is real!

Work from home

Research Office Culture:

If you are in the process of finding a new job, do your research. More and more often companies are offering non-monetary benefits, like remote work or flex scheduling. Often these “perks” can allow you a little flexibility and help you find a healthier balance between your work and home life. If this is not possible make sure that the company shares your values when it comes to work and family time.

Create Limits:

Have dedicated time for work and family.

Your family must respect and understand that your work time is important. If you work from home, have a dedicated space where you “go to work”.

 Set up expectations on how your family will communicate with you while you are at work whether at the office or at the home office; I prefer text messaging. I have told my family that I would like them to always consider how important the question is before they text me at work.

“Can I use my best judgement and answer this question myself?”

“Can this wait until I get home from work?”

The answer is typically yes to one of these questions. Give them the tools to make good choices for themselves, set up solid boundaries and rules. Have a protocol for emergencies, changes to the daily plan or urgent needs, so that they feel safe and secure while you are away. I have my phone available while I am working and so my kids know to text me if they need to make a change to the daily plan. If it is an emergency, they have my work number and they know that someone on my team will always answer and know where to find me.

 Family time is equally as important, set up good boundaries with your team. If you must check your email outside of work hours choose times to check in, so that emails do not distract dinner time or a bedtime routine. If your work requires you to answer calls outside of the work day, have your work team ask themselves the same questions you have your family ask before reaching out.

“Can I use my best judgement and answer this question myself?”

“Can this wait until I am back in the office?”

Give your family the same respect you give your job. Try to keep your focus and attention where it belongs.

Find Support:

 Make sure that you and your spouse or partner are always on the same page. Share your expectations for your kids as well as each other. Communicate about the possibility of an unavoidable imbalance in your work life balance. Maybe you have a big project or deadline coming up and a colleague is going to be reaching out nightly with updates. Tell your partner and/or kids so that they can be prepared to possibly pick up some slack at home.

Enlist a trusted neighbor to be an emergency contact or be available to check in with your kids if needed. This can give all of you some piece of mind.