Whether you're working as part of a large organisation or running your own show, it can be difficult to stay on top of both your professional and personal worlds and find that sweet spot we like to call 'balance'.
Recent reports from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, show that while Australia has made some forward steps regarding work/life balance, we still sit in the lower third of OECD countries when it comes to working long hours, with over 13% of the workforce working more than 50 hours per week.
This week, we highlight the strategies employed by some of our industry leaders striving to manage their professional obligations while also maintaining their quality of life.
How do you maintain a work/life balance?
Allison Hill, Director of Investments at QIC.
I think that balance is incredibly important for everyone. I do work hard but my family, health and relaxation are all very important. I try to make time for everything where I can. I’ll get up early to go to the gym before my children wake up, so I can be there with them in the morning. It’s so important for your personal and professional success to get a balance. There’s no one magical answer, sometimes you just have to tweak your routine a little to make it all work.
Ross Piper, CEO at Christian Super.
I’m married to Sarah and we have four kids. Life is full at home outside of work, and this is a great leveller when you get home. It’s not easy to do work e-mails or phone calls after hours when you have four kids climbing all over you! I’ve also always had a strong belief in the importance of maintaining interests and balance in the ‘other’ outside of work, whether it’s sport, community or church. Running has always been an important outlet for me, although my knees are now starting to feel the years of all those pavement or beach kilometres!
Louise Bradshaw, Marketing & Business Development Manager at Eaton Vance Australia.
I work 4 days a week, have an 8 year old who is very busy at school and with sport. My husband is a Portfolio Manager and participates in Ironman triathlons, plus I am a fitness nut and have an 87 year old mother. Honestly, I just try to eat properly and sleep and somehow stay in touch with friends! My husband is always happy to do his bit too, which is an enormous help both logistically and as a role model for our daughter. He’s great with school drop offs and food preparation, especially on weekends when I am all cooked out!
Bryan Collins, Head of Finance at Vision Super.
With technology nowadays, we can be connected all the time. This can help or hinder both productivity and work/life balance. I prefer not to stay late at the office, and would rather login later from home. It’s easy to become a non-participant in weekly family life if working late at the office becomes a habit. At both my previous roles I had a day from home each week, which helped with work-life balance and productivity. I would target that day for writing presentations, board papers etc. with minimal interruptions. If there was work to be done at home by a tradesman, or a doctor’s appointment, then I would schedule them for that day too.
Frank Gooch, Chair of Pengana International Equities Limited.
I am lucky that I really enjoy my work because, like most people, I probably spend most of my waking hours there. I prefer to work from the office whenever possible so that when I am at home I can focus my attention on my family and friends.
"It’s easy to become a non-participant in weekly family life if working late at the office becomes a habit" - Bryan Collins
Kylie Willment, CIO, Pacific at Mercer.
I’m a working mum with two great kids – a 12 year old son and a 9 year old daughter. I want to have a great career and be a great mum at the same time. I wish there was one single answer on how to achieve that. The reality is that it takes constant tweaking and adjusting, depending on what’s going on in your work life and what’s going on in your family life. For me right now, it’s a combination of my husband and I working as a team, getting in additional help at home when we need it and working for an employer that understands the importance of providing flexibility.
On the last point - understanding Mercer’s flexible work practices was a key factor for me during the recruitment process. Fortunately, they are one of the few organisations I’ve come across that truly embraces flexibility for all - males, females, parents, non-parents, seniors and juniors. This can mean working from home, working part time, working non-standard hours or leaving early to attend an important event at school.
Kirsten Mander, Chair of legalsuper.
I can't claim to always be successful in getting the balance right, but I think that's part of the learning - balance is always a work in progress, not a permanent destination. I make time every now and again to review what are my most important priorities in each aspect of my life - work, family, friends, and myself. I set work limits and priorities to keep my focus on what's important (rather than trying to do everything). And I take holidays. Next stop - Cuba.
William Burkitt, Innovation Leader, Post Retirement at Mercer.
Ensuring I have a range of interests outside of work and respecting time for them in turn supports my passion and longevity for work. I spend time as much time as possible with my teenage boys, travel to far flung adventures around the world, keep fit with running a marathon a year, have philanthropic interests related to the care industry and going to live music gigs. Currently, I’m completing the Bronze Medallion with Coogee Surf Life Saving Club – a great community!
"Balance is always a work in progress, not a permanent destination." - Kirsten Mander
Finn Kelly, Co-Founder and CIO at Wealth Enhancers.
Be intentional with how you spend your time and live your life. Work out your top five priorities and then make sure you allocate your attention, time and resources toward these.