Juggling work and childcare can be a struggle. But we don’t always feel comfortable talking to our employers about the many challenges this holds. Worried about how perceptions of us may change, it may seem more straightforward to get on with the job and cope silently with the mounting pressures of home life. But the long term effect is frustration, further stress and less productivity on all fronts. The solution is that honesty is the best policy.
Staff and their employers reap the benefits by approaching work/home life balance in a consultative way.
Tell It As It Is
Honesty has to start at the interview stage. Employers need to communicate the expectations of the role from the outset. But it would be best if you also were clear about the obstacles or challenges in fulfilling those expectations.
Another way honesty is the best policy is with family commitments, mainly childcare arrangements, and they are ever-changing – but so is a business. Keep your employer informed of any changes that may impact your ability to meet the ongoing challenges of a growing and dynamic business. If your boss has insight into these changes, there will be less expectation for you to carry on regardless of the pressure you may be feeling.
Any worry about being a failure or bottling up your mounting stress can affect your health or business. Any reasonable employer who values your input will be prepared to listen and offer a practical solution.
Taking time off doesn’t always solve a childcare issue or another family commitment challenge. Communicate clearly what will make a difference in your life to do your job to the best of your ability while managing your other vital responsibilities.
Employers have a moral responsibility to ensure the proper working conditions and opportunities are available to you. This includes tuning into your needs as an employee. It means being sensitive to any changes or challenges that may be happening in your life outside of work. But there are times when they won’t know unless you tell them.
Any responsible employer won’t want to lose a valued team member because they weren’t aware of the pressures at home. Baring in mind that honesty is the best policy, an ongoing dialogue with an HR director or boss – perhaps as often as every month – will keep everyone informed about changes to personal circumstances and how they can be addressed.
Paula Rogers established Admiral Recruitment in 1995. Now the UK’s largest, independently-owned specialist recruitment company, Admiral Recruitment has a projected annual turnover of £12 million for 2016. Paula is a Fellow of the Institute of Hospitality and appears on the Women 1St Top 100 Listing of the most inspiring and dynamic women within the UK hospitality sector. Mother of two young daughters, she is a life-long advocate of working mothers and a mentor with Oxford Brookes University and The Wimbledon Guild. When not balancing the demands of family and business life, Paula competes at an international level in triathlon and running events.