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As we embrace this soothing autumnal lull between the sun setting on our summer activities and the festive season commencing its sparkle, it’s a timely moment for reflection on how we survived the school holiday juggle.
With working parents under constant pressure to do (and be) it all, there’s increasing expectations for them to be excelling in their careers and also winning best parent of the year. Yet most organisations aren’t geared up to support them in this impossible feat of being (physically and mentally) in two places at once.
Plus, the ever-rising cost of wraparound childcare (and the guilt that accompanies it) means parental pressure is immense. Add school holidays into the mix and there’s an all-too-familiar scene of parents missing out on being in the moment, instead willing for normality to resume in September.
As we look back on another summer survived (and dare we say, aced!) we reveal why we encourage our team to find their individual rhythm - providing it’s a win for the agency, our clients and themselves - to ensure ultimate juggling success:
It was glaringly obvious that some of the team were firm on their need to maintain a very clear divide between work and home life. And yes, we could simply work through the summer holidays with children running amok in the background, asking every five minutes for yet another snack, but this wouldn’t be a win for anyone (most of all, our children).
So, it goes without saying that we swiped and deployed some of the oldest tricks in the book – from enlisting grandparents and tag-teaming with other halves to utilising holiday clubs or swapping play dates with other parents.
But what about the more creative elements of our work, like crafting beautifully curated and psychologically nuanced copy? How did this come to fruition whilst our little ones were home? This is where our genuine flexible working approach came into its own, allowing our team to control their own working schedule to suit them. It produced a variety of different working patterns, including:
- Condensing typical working days into fewer (but longer) stretches
- Dedicating strict work and family time throughout the day, allowing for a happy balance
- Utilising annual leave
- Planning half-day family activities (and hoping for quieter independent play for the remainder)
- Rising early doors to focus on work before the little ones woke up or after they’d gone to bed
Every successful year that goes by further validates our bold decision in June 2020 to completely abolish the working week. We are testament to the fact that genuine flexibility in the workplace can - and does - work incredibly well for all concerned.
Our team were able to be there for their children as needed - and even enjoy that time with them both guilt and stress free - and still show up as their best selves when working.
We’re not the only organisation made up of predominantly working parents, trying to perfect the balance, and appreciate that many of our clients are juggling too. Thanks to this way of working, someone is available and online at almost every waking hour - often even during the weekends too - meaning we can assist a client with an urgent scenario, or jump on a call outside of the traditional 9-5. Our ability to flex works both ways and is absolutely a win for all concerned - all year round.
Recruitment issues and skills gaps are posing a challenge in almost every sector. But there’s an abundance of working parents with extensive experience, knowledge and expertise waiting to be tapped into, but stalled by the lack of flexibility. Being able to allow your employees to master the life/work balance that fits around their schedule is sure to open the doors to a skilled, happy and loyal team.
It’s one of the best business decisions we ever made, and encourage you to consider it too.