BALANCING ACTS: PARENTHOOD AND PR.
There’s nothing like breeding your own future workforce!
The last 12 months at DEC PR has seen five new bubs join the office family, meaning a promising pipeline of interns 20+ years from now. Returning to work after parental leave can be an exciting yet daunting transition for new parents. Juggling professional responsibilities (and ambitions!) with family obligations requires careful management and support from both colleagues and employers.
While our DEC-parents start to return to work, there’s lots of discussion about how to ‘have it all’ during this new life season.
Below are five key strategies that are working to support the "mum (or dad) juggle" and achieving a healthy work-life balance.
Creating a supportive work environment starts with leadership. By recognising and valuing the different perspectives and skills that parents bring to team, and implementing a family-friendly environment and practices, organisations can thrive, employees can thrive, and families can thrive. Additionally, managers can set a positive example by modelling work-life balance themselves, encouraging open communication, and providing opportunities for professional growth. The more that leadership demonstrates understanding for the ups and downs that comes with parenting life, the more the team feels connected, valued and engaged.
Existing Culture and Positive Mentors
You can only be what you see – and that doesn’t just count for our working parents, but also for their children who will see their parents fulfilling their career ambitions while also being great mums and dads. The existing company culture plays a significant role in determining how successfully working parents can navigate the juggle. Observing how other employees, particularly mum or dad mentors or role models, manage their work and family commitments can provide valuable insights and strategies. By fostering mentoring relationships, working parents can gain guidance and advice from experienced colleagues who have successfully navigated similar challenges.
Mother of three and Managing Director of DEC PR, Ags, famously says: “I’m a better mum for working and a better worker for being a mum.”
The two roles are not mutually exclusive, and the more we talk about how these can work together, the more we can succeed at both.
Building a network of supportive colleagues is instrumental in managing the mum juggle. Connecting with fellow working parents allows for sharing experiences, challenges, and practical tips. Engaging in open conversations and creating a safe space for discussions around work-life integration can provide a sense of camaraderie and understanding. Peer support groups or employee resource networks specifically catering to working parents can be a valuable resource for encouragement and guidance. At DEC PR, the team has access to online resource Benestar which offers employee assistance programs including resources focused on wellbeing, family life and parenting.
DEC PR has a #DecMumJugglers Slack channel where we ask each other valuable advice, share tips, discuss different ways to approach challenges (personally and professionally) and lament noisy toys!
Establishing clear boundaries between work and personal life is crucial for maintaining a healthy work-life balance for parents (and everyone else!). As a parent returning to work, it’s essential to communicate clearly with colleagues, clients and managers – you may be working part-time when previously you were five days, or you may have a hard stop at 5pm to race to daycare for pick-up. This may involve resetting deadlines, negotiating flexible work arrangements, or utilising tools and technologies that promote efficient time management. By clearly defining boundaries, working parents can ensure they have time to be present for both work and family.
Our ‘re-onboarding’ process for returning parents focuses a lot on boundary setting and working with the team to create a system that works for everyone. Each working parent is different, and it’s essential for parents, clients and the team to understand and respect boundaries from the outset.
Empowering the Team
Empowering the team involves delegating tasks, fostering a culture of trust, and encouraging autonomy. Effective delegation enables working parents to prioritise their workload and focus on essential tasks while ensuring that other team members can contribute and grow. Trusting colleagues to handle responsibilities independently, with enough support and guidance when needed, boosts team morale and creates a supportive environment. Empowering the team not only benefits working mothers but also cultivates a sense of ownership and accountability among all employees.
Returning to work after parental leave can be a juggling act for new parents, but with the right strategies in place, it is possible to manage the juggle successfully.
By fostering an open and supportive workplace culture, seeking mentorship, building peer support networks, setting boundaries, and empowering the team, working parents can strike a harmonious balance between their professional and personal lives. Ultimately, it is through collaboration, communication, understanding and flexibility that organisations can create an environment where working parents can thrive and contribute their best.
As far as creating an environment where you can succeed as both a parents and employee – DEC PR is proof that it is possible to have it all.