The Right Work Life Balance for You and Your TeamPosted on 12th December 2018
The benefits of the right work balance are enormous, but we know there are a lot of challenges too. We sat down with our Director of Maine Charity, the flexible working Queen to find out just how she manages a family, working condensed hours, and running a full division! Mainly though, we wanted to hear her thoughts on how creating a positive work life balance for each individual in your team can truly improve your organisation and team productivity.
Faye heads up our newest division, Maine Charity, and it’s thriving. However, she’s managed this on the back of working what would be considered part-time hours, 4 days a week from 10am to 4pm. She’s truly amazing, and not to discredit her achievements but she’s not alone. There is a wealth of skilled workers that are kept out of the job market because organisations aren’t willing to offer flexible working solutions. “When I was job searching after my second child, everyone wanted to offer me a job, but no one wanted to do so on a flexible basis. People didn’t truly believe that I could do what I was saying I could do in the hours I was saying I could do it.” Yet it’s exactly those hours that makes Faye so successful here - “I’m very very productive in the time that I have – and I think that’s true of a lot of people in a similar situation; people that still want to give something to the job market but have other commitments. I work part time hours but my efficiency in those hours, and knowing that I can’t work beyond those hours, mean the time I spend working I take full advantage of – I always work at full capacity”
We know from watching Faye that she makes it look easy, but there are host of challenges to both the company and the worker when trying to create the right work life balance.
“There aren’t enough hours in the day” – it can feel that there isn’t enough time to finish your work in the office then go home and manage a family, or an elderly parent.
Having the option to work evenings for example, after the kids are asleep, hospital visiting hours are through, dinner has been cooked and the dogs have been walked, would mean you can find those extra hours. Working outside of the conventional 9-5 hours gives a whole new group of skilled workers access to a job market and employee access to an abundance of new talent.
“Scheduling a meeting becomes that much more tricky” – we all know that scheduling meetings can be difficult when pinning down diaries, but there’s an added layer of complexity when you’re working flexibly or condensed hours. Working around this to find the best time for everyone is not easy but it’s worth it!
“The unconscious bias of the pub” – Socialising at work is that much more difficult when you’re not there all the time. “It’s so easy to stop inviting/not invite someone to the pub for drinks because you know they have responsibilities outside of work but It can really put a hamper on your ingratiation into the team”. It’s all about handling flexible hours sensibly, making the effort when you can, but also planning company team events in advance so arrangements can be made (for example, arranging for childcare).
Sickness – it’s not just your own personal sick time you have to worry about, but you also have to cover your children’s sickness, school holiday, inset days etc. This is where having a temporary worker can be truly beneficial or instigating a buddy system – someone that knows your world and can help cover. Improved technology and full remote working capabilities/hot desking environments also mean that staying home to look after a child when they’re not feeling well is becomes a less critical problem.
These may seem like large hurdles but they’re nothing that can’t be overcome. “If you support someone who has these challenges, you’ll get the most committed, hardworking, productive, and loyal people on your team. They’ll be committed to giving something back to the people and organisation that is working with them to have the best of both worlds”. With the challenges, it’s all about how you cover them, whether that’s managing it internally, through a job share, or even taking on board temporary workers when needed.
“People expect you to fail, so you try three times as hard to make sure you succeed”.
We know that both working flexibly, and managing those that do, is not easy; however we also know from our own experiences that it can work and is enormously beneficial to your business and your team.
If you’re looking for some advice on how to introduce some more work life balance to your team or you’re looking to create your own, the Maine Team are here to help. Get in touch today.