15 Sep 2021
Many working parents struggle to maintain a healthy balance between their responsibilities at work and their obligations to their families. An inability to maintain that healthy balance can have adverse effects on men and women’s careers as well as the relationships they have with their families.
A 2015 survey of more than 2,000 adults commissioned by the workplace solution provider Workfront found that 38 percent of survey participants have missed life events because of a bad work-life balance. Access to technology that means work is never too far away might contribute to poor work-life balance, as 57 percent of respondents also acknowledged feeling that technology has ruined the definition of a family dinner.
Finding a healthy balance between work and life at home may require a concerted effort on the part of working parents, but there are ways to successfully juggle a career and family.
Set reasonable goals. Much of the difficulty parents experience in regard to finding a healthy work-life balance may be a byproduct of spreading themselves too thin. Setting reasonable goals can help prevent that, but doing so requires taking commitments to one’s employer and family into consideration before agreeing to take on new projects or setting deadlines for projects to be completed. This should be applied to both work and home. If a work deadline is unattainable, professionals should discuss that with their employers, who might change the deadline or arrange for extra persons to work on the project. At home, parents should avoid taking on too many projects, such as chaperoning a child’s dance or coaching a sports team, if doing so will adversely affect the amount of quality time they get to spend with their families.
Look for ways to be more efficient at work. Managing time more efficiently at work can ultimately lead to a better work/life balance. Analyze your day-to-day and look for ways to cut back on activities that don't work towards a productive work day. This will reduce instances of having to work overtime or take work home with you. For more tips on how to be more efficient with your time, check out our blog post. Commuters who don’t drive themselves to work can be more efficient by using their commutes to read emails, arrange meetings or catch up on projects. Doing so allows for more time to get work done while in the office, which can make it easier to go home on time and be present at home.
Request changes to work schedules. While technology may have largely eliminated the separation between the office and home, working parents can use that to their advantage by asking their employees to alter their work schedules. Telecommuting one or two days a week can help parents feel more connected to their families, while flex schedules can ensure working parents don’t miss any of their children’s dance recitals or weekday afternoon ballgames.
Unplug when you get home. Perhaps the simplest and most effective way for parents to regain a healthy work-life balance is to unplug their devices. Employing “Do not disturb” settings on smartphones and turning off tablets can ensure parents don’t spend their time at home working but connecting with their families.
Maintaining a healthy work-life balance is no small task for today’s working parents. Productivity expectations in the workplace have increased astronomically in the last 40 years, and parents especially are feeling the weight of that burden. However, making a few changes to your daily schedule can help maintain that balance and lead to a more fulfilling life.