How to find a work-life balance when you are a working parent – best tips and tricks
We will not wool your eyes over. Nowadays sometimes it seems almost impossible to cope with personal life (work, children, taking care of the house, shopping, cooking) and work – find a good work-life balance… Digital industry, however giving great career opportunities and satisfying self-development is one of the most challenging. You have to work fast and sometimes long hours, be highly focused, learn and train in addition to following the constant changes. But yet, more and more employers are beginning to notice how important it is to maintain a better work-life balance for their employees in order to keep them motivated and productive.
Here are 5 tips that will help you truly balance work with your personal life, and take care of your well-being and mental health.
Start with checking in with your own values
It is a common phenomenon that working parents do not publicly admit that family is more important than work.
“Why pretend kids are of ‘little importance’? When work and parenting seem at odds — because our culture tells us they’re at odds — mothers and fathers feel forced to demonstrate their commitment to one (the work side) by minimizing their concern for the other (the parenting side).”
Says Emily Oster, an economist from Brown University
If you feel unfair about yourself because of the pressure to pretend that work is more important than family or personal life, start with changing your attitude. It is ok, that your family is on the top of your values, and it doesn’t stand in the opposite of being a good, valued employee. Work on self awareness to find out what really matters to you in life, and build your self-esteem and to have the courage to admit it to yourself.
Find a job in a company with Family-Friendly Culture.
It makes it a lot easier working in a company with the right culture, and thus with people who think like you. If you feel that the company you are working for doesn’t meet your values and family commitments, you don’t have flexible hours and achieving work life balance is really hard, you may consider changing a job. It may take some time to find the right one but is definitely worth it. It can reduce stress, gain more personal time, achieve healthier work life balance, and it can also be essential for your health and the future.
What to pay attention to while looking for the right company?
- Does the employer supports working parents? Have paternity/maternity benefits – and what are they?
- Are there many business trips? And mow much time you have to spend commuting?
- What is the cross-section of employees? Are they mainly young people with no obligations? Do many parents work there?
- Are there any additional benefits like free kindergarten, family health-care plans, family events?
- Is there paid parental leave and how long is it?
Check our Companies with values list to find company that meets your priorities.
Negotiate flexible work hours.
A flexible work schedule gives you a chance to meet family needs. You can go to a parent-teacher conference during the day, take the child to a doctor’s appointment, or pick up early from the kindergarten. So this kind of arrangement may be just what you need to gain healthier work-life balance. But how to convince your manager if there is no such policy at the work-place?
Make a plan, that would work for you the most.
Think about days when you need to leave work earlier, when do you have regular meetings which require your physical presence, and what parts of your job could be done remotely?
Make a list for your employer.
Make a list of the ways in which your employer could benefit from you working from home or having a more flexible schedule. You need to convince him about the benefits not only for you but for the whole organization. Clarify the advantages that satisfied workers offer to the overall success of the projects.
Talk to your manager.
Talk to your manager about your professional life. Highlight the benefits both for you and your company. Every employer is different, so be flexible, open and honest as possible. Be prepared to present alternative solutions, such as a trial period of your projected work schedule so you can show how the arrangement won’t restrict productivity. This could be a great opportunity for your supervisor to see how motivated you are to make the schedule work.
Work remotely to gain more family time and leisure time.
If a flexible schedule isn’t enough (for example because you have a long way to work), consider remote work. This could really make you feel like you’re in control of your life again. No wasting time for commuting, fewer interruptions and coffee breaks, silence… which results in not only in more time for a family, slower pace of life, better mood, but also better productivity at work. If you see a chance to work remotely in your current position, you can try to rearrange working conditions without changing a company. Here is how to talk to your manager.
- Make a plan, think how remote work fits in your current tasks/projects, how would you handle meetings or management issues. Consider all the pros and cons. If you want your boss to take your proposal seriously, make sure you’ve got all the details worked out before you bring it up.
- Again think about what your company will gain by you working remotely. Make a list of the benefits.
- Talk to your manager by staring at benefits for the company, your reasons and a solid plan on how remote work can be implemented if it isn’t a standard in your company.
If it is not possible at your current work-place, you can set remote work as your new life goal, and gradually start looking for new job opportunities. Life can be a little bit easier if you have a clear aim. Here is a list of remote job boards which will help you find a remote work.
Give a try to 4 days work week to achieve good work life balance.
Remote work isn’t possible? No matter what the reason is – is it the specificity of your work, or it doesn’t fit in company culture, you can give a try working part-time 4 days a week, with free Fridays. Yes, it results in less money, but also a much better life-work balance. You can make all the necessary stuff like shopping and cleaning on Friday, which results in 2 weekend days when you can only focus on spending quality time with your family and friends and take care of yourself.
It can be a real life-changing move.
Your employer may not be open to such a solution? Give him strong arguments for it.
- Increase in productivity and motivation. More and more companies are experimenting in 4 days work week, with more than satisfying results. Significant increase in productivity and employees engagement was noticed in all of the companies, who introduced 4 days work week, for example:
“Microsoft dropped a whopper of a study in January 2020 showing that productivity at its offices in Japan increased by 40 percent after the company required workers to take every Friday off. (Workers were still paid for five days of work.) The announcement from one of the world’s biggest tech companies breathed new life to the argument that a shortened workweek is not only better for workers but better for the bottom line.” https://money.howstuffworks.com/four-day-workweek.htm
Also the world’s most productive countries, like Norway, Denmark, Germany, and the Netherlands, on average work around 27 hours a week.
- Working 4 days a week increases employee satisfaction, company commitment, and teamwork and decreases stress level
So how to find a parent-friendly company, which will give you a chance to put into practice some of the above points?
Firstly check our Companies with values list – filter by parental benefits, family-friendly culture or Inclusive EVP for working parents – to find opening in the companies with parents friendly culture.
Pay attention to how companies describe themselves, what code words they use, what are the benefits for the employees, and review the responsibilities. Look for the clues during the interviews. Ask questions about demands, culture, benefits, and expectations after you get a job offer. Here you will also find some lists of parent-friendly culture companies: