For many parents balancing work and home life is often challenging. The guilt of coming home late to the family and missing children's bed times and dinner times is an internal battle many. working parents grapple with. On the flip side of that leaving work before others in the office with e-mails to sift through or projects to complete eats the career driven person as well internally.
Here are some tips to help achieve a better balance below:
1.Enquire about your employers family policy.
2.Speak to your colleagues or direct line manager about flexible work arrangements that will benefit you as well as allow you to exceed in your role.
This may include: arriving to work an hour late or leaving an hour early a few times per week to allow for school drop offs and family dinners; work from home arrangements one or two days per week; job sharing or dropping one day per week.
3. Change your work habits. This may mean re-evaluating how you get your work done and approaching your day and tasks differently. Some ways you can do this are:
Review and plan your work day in your mind before you leave or finish work. This helps you with shifting gradually from work mode to family mode. Try to plan your most challenging work tasks at the beginning of your day when you are more fresh and alert. This allows you to complete or get further ahead of your biggest challenges early in the day so that you are not delayed in leaving late for home or consume your thoughts with this while with your family.
Set boundaries around how much work you do at home. Set limits on the work emails you check and phone calls you respond to.
If you work from home- separate your work area from your family area so that you have boundaries in place with start and finish times. Be clear with your employer about you work hours so that the boundaries are in place and your family time is not impacted.
4. Switch from work mode to family/home mode by:
Ending your work day with a plan of what you will tackle on your next work day. Planning and goals setting for the day ahead allows you to switch into home mode more successfully.
Have an end of day ritual that mentally helps you switch off from work mode. This could be chaining into comfortable casual work shoes or clothes for your journey home; listening to your favourite tunes in your car or whilst sitting on a train; calling your partner or children on your way home to check in on their day and discuss dinner plans and finally switching your work phone to flight mode to ensure your family time is 100% family focused.
5. Exercise- Doing this a few times per week after work or before work helps to set the tone for either getting into work mode and separating the family stresses or setting the tone for home life by sweating out the work day and being family focused and ready for that precious family time.