How working parents can create better work-life balance

Metro Service
Finding a healthy balance between work and life at home may require a concerted effort on the part of working parents.

■ Metro Service

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 men and women experience in regard to finding a healthy work-life balance may be a byproduct of working parents spreading themselves too thin. Setting reasonable goals can help avoid 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 unreasonable, 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 time they get to spend with their families.
• Look for ways to be more efficient. Interactions with coworkers can make work more enjoyable, but working parents should not spend too much time shooting the breeze with their fellow employees. Doing so wastes time and only contributes to work-related stress. 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.
• 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. But such a goal is possible.

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